Online shoppers outnumbered their brick-and-mortar counterparts during U.S. retailers’ pivotal Black Friday weekend, underscoring the challenges facing American malls this holiday season as Amazon.com Inc. exerts more pressure.

More than 103 million people shopped online over the four-day weekend, which started Thursday on Thanksgiving and continued with Black Friday, according to an annual survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation. That compares with fewer than 102 million who ventured into traditional stores, the trade group said.

The shift online has been a mixed blessing for the retail industry. While it’s given companies one more way to reach consumers, a slowdown in mall traffic has hurt results at department stores and apparel chains. Many retailers also have struggled to match the online dexterity of Amazon. Neiman Marcus Group Inc., for instance, suffered Web outages on Friday and Saturday, leaving customers frustrated.

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