UPDATE 2-U.S. shoppers favored cash on Black Friday-survey

* Credit cards used less over weekend -survey

* More households keeping to Black Friday -survey

* Forecaster sees holiday sales range of -1 pct to +1 pct

* Retail shares up slightly
(Revises first sentence, adds details throughout)

By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK, Nov 30 (BestGrowthStock) – They left home without it.

Black Friday shoppers shunned credit cards at the start of
the holiday season this past weekend, according to a survey
released on Tuesday, adding a cautionary note to expectations
for U.S. retail sales over the next few weeks.

And this year’s Black Friday, the day after the U.S.
Thanksgiving holiday when retailers offer deep discounts and
early-bird specials, attracted the greatest percentage of U.S.
households to date, showing that consumers were willing to shop
before dawn for significant savings.

According to the survey by America’s Research Group and
UBS, 16.3 percent of consumers polled said they used credit
cards, down from 30.9 percent last year, and the lowest
percentage ever seen by the group’s chairman, Britt Beemer, who
has tracked holiday shopping for more than two decades.

This could have repercussions for credit card processing
networks like Visa Inc (V.N: ), American Express Co (AXP.N: ) and
MasterCard Inc (MA.N: ), which stand to benefit from a rebound in
spending this holiday season. [ID:nSGE6AL0QB]

America’s Research Group said it expected total holiday
sales to range from down 1 percent to up 1 percent, based on
data showing that consumers spend $41 on average per
transaction when using cash, check or debit cards, compared
with $87 on average when using credit.

That is far weaker than the 2.3 percent holiday sales rise
forecast by the National Retail Federation. Other industry
predictions top 3 percent.

The holiday shopping season is the biggest retail event of
the year, helping to shore up profits for store chains from
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: ) to Macy’s Inc (M.N: ) to Tiffany &
Co. (TIF.N: )

Although higher-income consumers are starting to spend
again, Beemer said they would not be able to counter the
caution pervading the wider population because of unemployment
and slow economic recovery.

“There’s no doubt that luxury is going to do better this
year than last year,” Beemer said in an interview. “But … if
the number of consumers using credit cards is half of what it
was a year ago, the luxury customer cannot make up for that 50
percent decline.”

BLACK FRIDAY RECORDS

The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index (.RLX: ) rose 0.4 percent
on Tuesday, outpacing slight declines for the wider stock
market. The index hit a 3 1/2 year high ahead of Black Friday,
and some analysts have said that retail stocks have already
factored in a small increase in holiday sales. [ID:nN29147501]

Between 46 and 47 percent of U.S. households shopped on
Black Friday this year, the survey found, marking a new record
for Beemer and rising from roughly 37 percent last year.

Of the people who shopped, nearly 62 percent made purchases
only on Black Friday, topping a prior record of 56 percent.

More than 14 percent of shoppers said they finished 90
percent or more of their shopping during the weekend, compared
with 10.5 percent last year.

Discount stores and electronics retailers were the day’s
winners, with the survey finding that those segments actually
gained prominence.

About 46 percent of Friday shoppers said they spent the
most money in discount stores, an 11-year high and up from last
year. About 15 percent of Friday shoppers said they spent the
most at electronics stores, such as Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: ), a
five-year high and up from only 10 percent last year.

The survey polled 1,000 consumers from Friday through
Sunday and has an error factor of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

Its findings differ from those of the NRF, which showed
that discounters lost ground this year to clothing and
department stores as consumers were a little more relaxed about
spending. [ID:nN28204931]
(For more on U.S. holiday spending trends, see [ID:nUSHOLIDAY]
)
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Michele Gershberg,
Andre Grenon and Matthew Lewis)

UPDATE 2-U.S. shoppers favored cash on Black Friday-survey