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The numbers are in. The National Retail Federation reported that 141 million shoppers raced their shopping carts around America's big-box stores like the Daytona 500 (we hope you got your Xbox One or your kid will disown you this Xmas morning). The total number of shoppers Thursday through Sunday grew by 2 million from last year, but they spent less on average and total sales shrank by 3% to $57 billion. It's the first decline since 2009.
Retailers were desperate to rev things up this Black Friday, so they skipped it altogether and went straight to Thursday. Macy's (NYSE: M ) opened on the holiday for the first time to try to milk more spending out of cost-conscious consumers, since there are fewer shopping days post-Thanksgiving than normal this year. The lackluster results dropped Macy's stock 1.5% Monday, and Target (NYSE: TGT ) was down nearly 2%.
Skip the Wal-Mart "Fight Clubs" in suburbia and do it online. Customer spending online this Black Friday weekend climbed to 42% of total sales, up from 40% last year and 26% in 2006. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) is up 3% since Wednesday on the e-friendly trend.
According to the Institute of Supply Management, manufacturing activity in the U.S. unexpectedly jumped from an already strong 56.4 to 57.3 on the research firm's fancy point index -- that's the sixth straight gain and the highest level of manufacturing growth in two and a half years. What a nice present for the sixth night of Hanukkah.
- Motor vehicle sales rev up with monthly vehicle sales.
- The "Red Book" releases its weekly retail sales report.