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Stores report strong holiday spending

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UNDATED (WSAU)  If you thought the stores were more jammed than last year at Thanksgiving, you’re correct. The National Retail Federation said a record 247-million people visited stores and retail Web sites over the holiday weekend. That’s up 9-percent from a year ago.

Elliott’s Ace Hardware of West Allis reports steady business this year compared to last, and it’s still waiting for another big shopping day – the first heavy snow day, when folks rush out to buy shovels and snow-blowers.

Experts say shoppers remain budget-conscious due to the economy – and they’re doing more homework to find the best deals. Burghardt Sporting Goods said its sales were up for the weekend at its store in Brookfield, but down at a newer location in Fox Point. Black Friday is still the most popular shopping day, but the National Retail Federation said the Thanksgiving holiday attracted over 35-million people. And almost three-of-every-10 shoppers were in the stores by midnight on Black Friday – up four-percent from a year ago.

The second-busiest online shopping day is expected today with Cyber Monday. The busiest is the final shipping day before Christmas.

“Small Business Saturday” has emerged in recent years to highlight ma-and-pa stores that can’t afford to attract customers on the Internet – and those retailers did well, too, for the most part.

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