The Associated Press - A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and Websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year, according to early estimates by The National Retail Federation last weekend. Americans spent more, too: The average holiday shopper spent $398.62 over the weekend, up from $365.34 a year ago.
The results for the first holiday shopping weekend show that retailers' efforts to lure shoppers during the weak economy are working. Some like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and J.C. Penney have been making a stronger push online to better compete with the likes of rival Amazon.com. And major chains like Macy's, Target and Best Buy extended the traditional start to the shopping season by opening their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving evening instead of the pre-dawn Friday hours of years past.