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Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 12 News List

US consumers go on Thanksgiving spending spree


US consumers, sated by the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, went on a multi-billion-dollar shopping fest snapping up post-holiday retail bargains in stores across America, the Visa credit card group said on Sunday.

Visa said spending on its branded payment cards on "Black Friday" (Nov. 26) totaled more than US$4.1 billion dollars, a 15.5 percent increase over the same day last year.

"Based on the sales we witnessed Friday ... merchants should be feeling more in the holiday spirit than in years past," said Wayne Best, senior vice president for strategic economic analysis for Visa USA.

The day after Thanksgiving -- the last Thursday in November -- marks the start of pre-Christmas shopping season across the US, and many consumers camped out overnight to be the first through the doors at stores across the country.

Consumer spending on Visa credit cards exceeded US$2.1 billion while debit spending grew to more than US$1.7 billion, a 10 percent and 21.6 percent spike compared with the same time last year.

Visa said the sharp rise in spending was mainly driven by a 20.9 percent rise in discount, mass retailers and drug store purchases as well as a 15.7 percent growth in department and apparel purchases.

It also noted a 15.6 percent increase in home and garden purchases while speciality retail and gift and hobby purchases remained relatively flat.

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