Nov. 25, 2011 at 7:50 AM ET
Thanksgiving is over, and that means retailers are hoping you’ll put down the fork and pick up the credit card.
The holiday season can be a make-or-break time for retailers: It made up nearly 20 percent of total retail industry sales last year, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade group. Those stocking stuffers and sweaters added up to a whopping $453 billion, according to the NRF.
Still, it’s not always a predictable time of year, especially lately. Holiday retail sales fell sharply in 2008, in the depths of the recession, but saw a sharp gain last year.
This year, retailers are expecting holiday sales to rise by 2.8 percent, to $465.6 billion.
A large chunk of that shopping will happen over this holiday weekend, starting as early as Turkey Day itself. About 22 million shopped on Thanksgiving Day last year, according to the NRF.
Black Friday has been the biggest shopping day of the year for the last seven years, according to ShopperTrak, which estimates consumer traffic.
If you do go shopping this weekend, you are quite likely to buy clothes. About half of Black Friday weekend shoppers say they purchase clothes or accessories. Books, CDs, DVDs, video games and toys are also popular items.
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