Holiday Shoppers Buying More In '99; U.S. Mall Sales Up 6.3%

CHICAGO: The holiday shopping season got off to a robust start at the nation's malls over the Thanksgiving weekend, with sales up 6.3% over the same period last year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). "These first sales results indicate a solid beginning to what is poised to be a strong holiday season," says John Konarski, senior vice president, research, with ICSC. According to the National Retail Traffic Index, 136 million people shopped at the nation's enclosed malls over the Thanksgiving weekend. Friday, Nov. 26 was the busiest day of the weekend, with 62 million shoppers; Saturday, Nov. 27 was the second busiest day with 47 million shoppers; and on Sunday, Nov. 28 there were 27 million shoppers. The ICSC report includes revenue from more than 3,600 specialty stores in 70 regional malls across the country. The national sample does not include department stores and other mall "anchors." The summary of sales results for the weekend follow: Apparel, +7.0% Food service, +3.8% Home furnishings/furniture, +8.3% Jewelry, +10.5% Music, video, home entertainment, +16.1% Stationery, cards, books, +0.1% Footwear, +2.7% Toys/sporting goods/other, +1.4%

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