The number of shoppers rushing to stores on the final Saturday before Christmas was up this year compared to last year, but spending will likely go even higher in the day leading up to Christmas.
Sales in U.S. retail stores on Saturday rose 15.1 percent from 2009 to almost $7.6 billion as more people finished their gift purchases, according to research firm ShopperTrak. Sales this year were also helped in comparison to the same weekend in 2009 when a major blizzard struck the East Coast, keeping many would-be shoppers at home.
This helped sink spending on the so-called “Super Saturday” in 2009 by 16.5 percent to about $6.6 billion. Spending on the day this year was still below the $7.9 billion spent by Americans on the day in 2008, ShoperTrak said.
Plenty of people still had shopping left to finish, and an estimated 23 million people will hit stores on Christmas Eve, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
“Now that we are down to the wire, consumers have stepped up their shopping pace, as well as their purchases,” ICSC chief economist Michael Niemira said in a statement. “All and all, retail shopping trends are shaping up to be very favorable for holiday sales, as well as December sales performance, for retailers.”
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the US economy, and predictions for 2010 holiday spending have included the biggest gains since 2007.
“Black Friday,” the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, brought $10.7 billion in sales, meaning it is the biggest shopping day of 2010 so far.