Black Friday offers attract US buyers, the biggest online sales gains

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Buyers across the United States have accumulated deep discounts on toys, clothing and electronics both online and in Black Friday stores, giving retailers a strong start to their Christmas holidays.

A healthy economy and rising wages have given people the confidence to unleash the annual raft of dealers' opportunities.

"The prices today are very good", said Jose Manuel Cruz Hernandez, 59, who hit the Del Amo fashion center in Torrance, California, with his sister Paulina Cruz, 66, who comes every year from Mexico City to make purchases.

The couple spent $ 120 on princess dolls and other toys in the Walt Disney Co store, where the items were discounted by 20%. They spent an amount similar to Gap Inc, where the articles were discounted around 55%.

Cruz Hernandez, a foreman in an aerospace company, said he felt comfortable with the US economy and his finances and expects to spend another $ 1,000 on holiday gifts – all the same as the 39; last year.

A similar story took place online, where buyers spent $ 643 million by 10:00 am ET, an increase of 28% over a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which records transactions in most of the best stores United States online. Smartphone sales in particular contributed to earnings.

Pedestrian traffic seemed healthy in stores that offered discounts, even if the detailed numbers on sales of Christmas holidays will not be available for several days.

"Overall, Black Friday does not have the sense of urgency as it used to be and it feels more like a busy regular weekend day in many of the stores," said Telana Advisory Group's Dana Telsey.

"Many of the promotions were available for a couple of weeks," said Telsey. "We did not notice desperation from any retailer."

The shares of Macy & # 39; s Inc, Kohl & # 39; s Corp and Target Corp are all closed on Friday and weighed on the broader index of the S & P 500, which closed 0.56 %.

Investors are worried that retail sales growth may have peaked in the second quarter and business will slow down with increasing comparisons, said Edward Jones retail analyst Brian Yarbrough.

The owner of Victoria's Secret L Brands, Walmart Inc and American Eagle Outfitters have risen. J.C. Penney Co Inc is over flat and Amazon.com Inc has closed slightly downwards.

The overall stock market closed a shorter session with losses.

STRONG ONLINE SELLING

The first numbers showed that overall retail sales, both in stores and online, were in line with expectations, according to the SpendingPulse report from Mastercard Inc. The company expects total Black Friday sales to reach € 23 billion of dollars this year, compared to $ 21 billion last year.

Mastercard combines the sales activity in its payment network with cash estimates and other forms of payment. He said that the cold in the eastern United States and the wet climate in the west could push more consumers online.

Online spending is nearing $ 6.4 billion Friday, Adobe said. Thanksgiving online sales rose 28% to $ 3.7 billion.

The National Retail Federation expects US retail sales in November and December to increase between 4.3% and 4.8% in 2017 for a total of $ 717.45 billion to $ 720.89 billion . This compares with an average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the last five years.

About 38% of US consumers plan to purchase Black Friday, a Reuters / Ipsos survey released last week.

People go shopping during the Black Friday sale event at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York, United States, November 23, 2018. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton

The very cold weather in the northeastern United States may have kept some buyers home, although industry analysts have also reported increased demand for coats and other warm clothing. An Athleta clothing store in Tysons, Virginia, provided hot chocolate with marshmallows to the women in line for the locker room.

DEAL FRENZY

Buyers bought large items such as TV, Apple Inc iPad and Target watches, while phones, toys, game consoles and cookware were Walmart Inc.'s top sellers.

Many buyers have tried compressed air fryers, who do not use oil to fry foods and instant cookware. Kohl's managing director, Michelle Gass, told CNBC that the company sold 60 Instant Pots per minute online thanksgiving.

While most retailers have not changed their offers and discounts year after year, many have shifted start dates and offered more teasers, according to the Deal RetailMeNot website.

The most profound discounts in clothing and accessories were offered by Michael Kors, who ran a 60% discounted sale; Gap, which offered 50 percent across the site; and Nordstrom, which gave away up to 60 percent of the goods.

Other offers included:

* A Manhattan H & M store offered a 30% discount on everything in-store and online.

* Macy's in Herald Square, Manhattan, sold a portfolio of Coach designers, originally $ 225, for $ 53. The travel bags there, originally $ 259, were half out.

* Midtown Comics was taking a 25 percent discount on all of its three Manhattan locations until noon.

* An Eddie Bauer from Chicago offered a 50 percent discount on all items.

* In an area of ​​Chicago, Pandora, which sells popular charm bracelets that can cost up to $ 1,000, jewelry has dropped 35% before 10 and 25% for the rest of the day.

* J Crew's clothing was 50%. His site has encountered some technical difficulties.

* Walmart sold a Google Home mini for $ 99.

REPLACEMENT OF A STORE OF TOYS

Many retailers, who react to the bankruptcy of the Toys & # 39; R & # 39; chain Us, they turn to parents.

Objective stated in October that it planned to allocate nearly a quarter of a million square feet of new space to its toy business in 500 of its stores.

"Toys" R & # 39; Us has a better quality for toys, "said Ashley Drew, 29, shopping for her 5-year-old daughter in an area of ​​Los Angeles, Walmart, next to the empty shell of a Toys Shop & R; Us.

The JC Penney department store, known for its mid-range clothing, has also pushed into toys.

Presentation (13 images)

Carolyn Pertette of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, made the first jump at the Waterfront Mall in Pittsburgh.

"I'm worried about where I'm going to get the toys," he said.

Additional reporting of Shannon Stapleton on Long Island; Lewis Krauskopf, Melissa Fares, Jennifer Ablan and Anna Irrera in New York; Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Richa Naidu in Chicago; Margaret Rice in Tysons, Virginia; and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Written by Nick Zieminski; editing by Patrick Graham, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Bill Rigby

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