News / USA

US Holiday Shopping Season off to Good Start

Multimedia

Early indications show the holiday shopping season in the United States is off to a promising start.  The National Retail Federation says the number of Americans who visited stores and websites during the so called "Black Friday" holiday weekend was up significantly from last year.  Retailers are hoping the online equivalent, called Cyber Monday, turns out to be just as successful - as the crucial holiday shopping season gets underway.

The holiday shopping season shifted into high gear over the American holiday weekend with over 200 million shoppers taking advantage of deep discounts and extended shopping hours. The National Retail Federation says that is nine percent higher than last year.  Investment analyst Lori Wachs says not only were there more shoppers, they also spent more money.

"The consumer is starting to feel better," she said. "They're spending on discretionary items such as jewelry and even on themselves."

Black Friday is considered a turning point for retailers because it marks the day of the year when their stores start moving into the black - the common term for making a profit.
Terry Lundgren, the chief executive at Macy's department store, says the strong showing this year is vital to a healthy economy.

"Retail and restaurants represent one in five jobs in America," he said. "So if we do well, we grow, then we're going to be the ones that will start to lead us into a recovery and out of the difficulty that we've had in terms of job hiring, unemployment and all of those challenging issues that relate to that."

The retail federation says American shoppers spent an average $365 over the holiday weekend - about $20 more than they did last year.   

That bodes well for Cyber Monday, when retailers expect more than 100 million shoppers will scour the Internet looking for deals.

Online sales are expected to top last year's numbers by 30 percent.

Steve Yankovich, who heads eBay's mobile division, says today's technology allows consumers to shop from home, at work or even by phone.

"We walk around with a [shopping] mall in our hand," he said. "I've got prices in my hand, I've got options in my hand as I'm in a particular retailer's brick and mortar store, and that's different.'

Consumer spending is the biggest driver of the U.S. economy, accounting for about 70 percent of economic activity.
But signs that American shoppers are spending more did little to bolster investor confidence - as continued worries about the European debt crisis put a damper on stock prices.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid