More US shoppers at malls Black Friday weekend-NRF

* 60 mln plan to shop, another 78 mln might join in

* Up to 4 mln more shoppers expected over three days

* Projected increase smaller than last year

By Jon Lentz

NEW YORK, Nov 18 (BestGrowthStock) – As many as 138 million U.S.
shoppers could be hunting for Black Friday bargains during the
three days after Thanksgiving, according to a retail trade
group survey released on Thursday.

Nearly 60 million Americans plan to hit the stores, while
an additional 78 million might join the crowds of shoppers, the
National Retail Federation said.

The total number of possible shoppers is 4 million more
than forecast last year, when the NRF forecast 134 million
Americans would be out shopping over the three-day weekend.

The group does a follow-up survey to ascertain how many of
those consumers actually did shop over the weekend, but it
includes shoppers on Thanksgiving day.

Black Friday, which falls on Nov. 26, is a key date for
retailers, representing the traditional post-Thanksgiving
kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

Retailers from Macy’s Inc (M.N: ) to Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: )
try to lure shoppers through “door-buster” deals offering low
prices on coveted gifts and the deals continue throughout the
weekend.

The higher turnout expected for the Black Friday weekend
supports an earlier NRF forecast of a 2.3 percent increase in
sales in November and December, compared with a 0.4 percent
increase in 2009.

In 2008, during the worst financial crisis in decades,
sales fell by 3.9 percent.

The widely-expected uptick in shopping this year is
welcomed by retailers, but they remain wary, leaving little to
chance in their fight for holiday sales. Knowing consumers are
still hesitant to spend and are looking to save money, many are
focused on increasing sales by poaching customers from their
rivals. [ID:nN16143974]

Amid high unemployment and a tepid economic recovery, more
U.S. consumers are paring back their spending for the holiday
season, according to a survey from consumer research firm
America’s Research Group. [ID:nN17148596]

This year’s higher forecast for Black Friday shoppers is
smaller than the change from 2008 to 2009, when an additional 6
million shoppers were expected.
(Reporting by Jon Lentz; editing by Andre Grenon)

More US shoppers at malls Black Friday weekend-NRF