Nightly News | December 11, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Back now with the holiday shopping rush, just two weeks left until Christmas . After modest predictions earlier in the year, sales have been much better than expected. In fact, they're on a blistering pace. And with Black Friday and Cyber Monday now in the history books, they're preparing for what's called Green Monday, and shippers are bracing for their biggest day of the year. Courtney Reagan covers the retail industry for CNBC and has our report tonight.
COURTNEY REAGAN reporting: Despite still challenging economic conditions, this holiday season is turning out to be more joyful than expected. Consumers are shopping and spending more than they said they would. According to the CNBC All-America Economic survey, the average US shopper plans to spend $751 this year, up 22 percent from last year.
Ms. STACEY WIDLITZ (SW Retail Advisors, Inc.): They're feeling a little bit better. Consumer confidence is picking up a bit, and we're seeing that in the spending numbers.
REAGAN: Tomorrow, the second Monday in December, was dubbed Green Monday by eBay five years ago when online sales shot up. It's become one of the largest shopping days all year with big discounts. ComScore predicts $1 billion will be spent online tomorrow. So far, more than $24 billion has been spent online for the holiday season , marking a 15 percent increase over last year.
Mr. GIAN FULGONI (ComScore): It's very possible that tomorrow, Monday, might well be the heaviest day that we've ever seen in the history of the Internet .
REAGAN: A fact that FedEx is well aware of, saying tomorrow could be its busiest shipping day ever.
Ms. MONIQUE BROCK-PATE (FedEx Center Manager): The busiest day's going to be tomorrow. We're going to be moving 17 million packages, and I'm really excited. It's going to be organized chaos.
REAGAN: As for shoppers, survey after survey indicates scoring a deal is priority number one this year. Online, free shipping can clinch the deal, while outlet malls are perhaps the biggest brick and mortar beneficiaries. Discount clothing sales are up 18 percent at outlet malls this year, compared with an increase of 2 1/2 percent at department stores in traditional malls.
Unidentified Woman #1: I got three for less than the one flannel I bought somewhere else.
Unidentified Woman #2: I think there's a lot of savings.
Unidentified Man: Prices are excellent here, one of the main reasons why we're here.
Unidentified Woman #3: We got four pairs of shoes in Nordstrom Rack for $130, and we're very happy.
REAGAN: Happy shoppers and happy retailers, hoping for a holiday season for the record books. Courtney