Inflation-weary buyers were expected to come out in record
numbers for deals on Black Friday but thin crowds were seen outside many
outlets in New York, Raleigh, Chicago, and Los Angeles on what historically has
been the busiest shopping day of the year.

According to a report in Reuters, many buyers in the United
States said their purchases were strategic, not impulsive or splurges.
“We’ve been waiting” for discounts, said Tulio Rose, 28, who
purchased a big-screen TV at Best Buy in Los Angeles, while shopping with
Barnisha Nill, 35. They saved around $500 on the 85-inch Samsung TV for their
new home.

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Around 166.3 million people are planning to shop from
Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, nearly 8 million more than
last year, according to the National Retail Federation. However, due to
infrequent rain in some parts of the country, stores witnessed less crowd than
usual on Black Friday.

“Usually at this time of the year you struggle to find
parking. This year I haven’t had an issue getting a parking spot,” said
Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser of the NPD Group Inc.

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“It’s a lot of social shopping, everybody is only
looking to get what they need. There is no sense of urgency,” Cohen added
based on his store checks in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.

US retail stocks remained stable on Friday as investors
watched holiday spending to measure consumer confidence at a time when the
highest inflation in four decades and rising interest rates are weighing
heavily on Wall Street. Consumer discretionary stocks, measured by the S&P
500 Consumer Discretionary sector, which benefits from spending on retail,
restaurants, and vacations, moved up less than 0.1%.

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Consumer discretionary stocks have plunged nearly 32% year
to date, more than twice the 15.5% fall in the broad S&P 500, as consumers
have been battered by surging inflation and the swiftest increase in interest
rates since the 1970s.

There was no rush outside stores at the American Dream mall
in East Rutherford, New Jersey. A Toys ‘R’ US employee was distributing flyers
with a list of the Black Friday “door buster” promotions. But those who did
make it to the mall were surprised at the deals on offer.

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“There’s a lot of deals that weren’t advertised. Some
of the stores I got 50% off everything I bought,” said Christine Chavez.
She said that she mainly bought gifts and items from Victoria’s Secret and

“I was hesitant to come to the mall, and I have to say
I’m pleasantly surprised,” Cohen added.

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Several customers looking for Apple’s latest phones
returned empty-handed from its stores as the technology major struggles with
production issues in China.

US customers spent almost 3% more online on Thanksgiving
Day this year, with purchases made on mobile phones driving the increase,
according to a report by Adobe Analytics.

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According to the firm, consumers spent a record $5.29
billion online on Thanksgiving Day, up 2.9% from a year ago, boosted by heavy
discounts in categories such as toys and electronics,

Retailers are offering sharp discounts both online and
offline, which may hurt profit margins in the fourth quarter. Apparel retailers
were most active with sales, offering as much as 60% off on merchandise, said
consulting firm Kearny. Electronic goods and TV sets also witnessed sharp
discounts to attract shoppers who have been tightening their expenses.

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Walmart boosted marketing for the holiday, buying ad space
on Twitter and Instagram, during National Football League (NFL) games, and on
billboards near New York City’s Penn Station.

Amazon was offering a variety of deals, including more than
40% discount on Roomba vacuums, a 45% discount on Calvin Klein men’s range, and
up to 50% discount on Chromebooks from Lenovo, HP, Acer, and ASUS.

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Black Friday is likely to bring in $9 million from online
sales, a marginal increase of 1% from last year, with customers now switching
to offline stores after a pandemic-led pause over the last two years.

Low-income households in the US are expected to pull back
this year as record-high inflation and higher energy prices affect purchasing