Home BUSINESS NEWS Online sales give businesses a Black Friday boost

Online sales give businesses a Black Friday boost

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U.S. stores offered deep discounts, entertainment and free gifts to lure bargain hunters on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday retail season, but some shoppers said they were just browsing the merchandise, reserving their cash for internet purchases.

Still, a sharp rise in online sales brightened the overall outlook for those traditional retailers that have expanded beyond brick-and-mortar outlets, sending their shares higher in day-after-Thanksgiving trading. Stores also carefully managed inventory, seeking to ward off any post-holiday liquidation that would weigh on profits.

There was little evidence of the delirious shopper frenzy customary of previous Black Fridays, even as some stores got creative with gimmicks besides heavy discounts to draw in customers.

No data for Friday’s brick-and-mortar business were immediately available.

Despite anecdotal signs of muted in-store sales — fewer cars in mall parking lots, shoppers leaving stores without purchases in hand — consumers are still expected to spend more overall this holiday season than last, analysts and industry executives said.

Photos: Holiday cheers: Shoppers stuff themselves, then the stores on Black Friday

Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the 100 largest U.S. web retailers, projected that online retailers would rake in $6.6 billion more on Cyber Monday.

Indeed, some chains struggled to keep up, with brief online outages experienced by Lowe’s, H&M and the Gap, among others, according to website performance monitors.

Image: Black Friday Shopping

Ronnie Noble checks out a firearm on sale at the Rural King store in Gainesville, Florida, on Friday.