(24 Nov 2018) It would have been easy for consumers to turn on their computers at home over plates of leftover Thanksgiving turkey and take advantage of the Black Friday deals most retailers now offer online. But across the US, thousands of shoppers flocked to stores on Thanksgiving or woke up before dawn the following day to take part in the most famous ritual of American consumerism.
In New York, shoppers flocked to the Manhattan Mall, with stores like JCPenney offering major deals on toys and jewelry and just steps away from a major retail corridor on 34th street, which houses the city's landmark Macy's department store, and with dozens of choices nearby and good deals up for grabs early Friday.
The holiday shopping season presents a big test for the US economy, whose overall growth so far this year has relied on a burst of consumer spending.
Americans upped their spending during the first half of 2018 at the strongest pace in four years, yet retail sales gains have tapered off recently.
The sales totals over the next month will be a good indicator as to whether US consumers simply paused to catch their breath or feel less optimistic about the economy in 2019.
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