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Shoppers Return to Stores

Shoppers headed back to stores with higher energy this Black Friday than last year, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

The big difference: Last year’s pandemic restrictions meant that holiday spending in 2020 primarily occurred online, weakening brick-and-mortar sales. By contrast, shoppers gave a boost to in-person spending this Thanksgiving.

What it looked like: “RetailNext, a firm that tracks shopper counts in thousands of stores with cameras and sensors, said store traffic rose 61% this Black Friday compared with last year but was down 27% from 2019. Sensormatic Solutions, another firm that tracks store traffic, said Black Friday traffic rose 48% from last year, but was 28% lower than in 2019.”

Why it happened: In some cases, shoppers returned to in-person shopping as a result of year-long “COVID-19 fatigue,” but retailers were also able to meet Black Friday sales targets by welcoming shoppers to shop earlier in the season. Meanwhile, a strong labor market has boosted Americans’ personal incomes, helping to increase household spending overall.

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