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Holiday shopping begins with lower-ticket burst  

Washington – More shoppers than ever hit the stores on Black Friday, although the average spent per consumer was down, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported.

The NRF said 147 million shoppers were out in the aisles, a host of holiday bargain-seekers that was up 4.8% over the turnout one year ago.

The average spent, $347.44 per shopper, was down 3.5% from 2006. NRF president and ceo Tracy Mullin said “lower priced doorbusters like digital photo frames, laptops and cashmere sweaters” were among top choices – instead of higher priced goods such as the high-definition TV sets that made a major splash last year.

NRF surveys showed that 55.1% of shoppers visited discount chains, up from 49.6% last year, while 43.2% shopped in specialty stores and 38.7% in traditional department stores. NRF figures showed 31.6% shopped online.

The retailer group is maintaining its projection that 2007 holiday sales will rise 4.0% to $474.5 billion.

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