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Record Crowds Over Weekend, But Spending Declined

Actual 'Black Friday' shoppers spent less, taking advantage of early and online sales
(AP) -- Did retailers shoot themselves in the foot?

U.S. retailers offered holiday discounts in early November and opened stores on Thanksgiving Day to attract more shoppers. Those tactics drew bigger crowds, but they didn't motivate Americans to spend.

A record 141 million people are expected to shop in stores and online over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend that ends Sunday, up from last year's 137 million, according to a survey conducted for The National Retail Federation.

But total spending is expected to fall for the first time ever since the retail group started tracking it in 2006. Over the four-day weekend, spending is estimated to reach $57.4 billion, down 2.9 percent from last year.

The group says earlier discounts led Americans to shop before the weekend and be more cautious about spending.
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