Walmart, Target report strong Thanksgiving sales

Thanksgiving Day sales started off strong at major retailers, both in-store and online.

E-commerce revenue on Thanksgiving is up 12.5 percent year over year, and online transactions were up 10.8 percent. Average order value was up as well, by 1.5 percent, indicating strong retailing activity that is less promotion-heavy compared to last year, according to Custora.

Mobile shopping surged and was almost 40 percent of online sales. In 2015 through October, 28 percent of e-commerce orders were made on mobile phones or tablets. On Thanksgiving, that share jumped to 39.3 percent, compared to Thanksgiving 2014 when 34.3 percent of orders were made on mobile devices.  

In stores, sales were steady and controlled.

"Target got a head start going into Black Friday with the record-breaking launch of Adele's new album and our '10 Days of Deals' promotion. The momentum continued with our Black Friday presale, and on Thanksgiving, we saw millions of shoppers take advantage of great offers online and in our stores," said Target CEO Brian Cornell.

"Overall, the response from our guests has been very positive, with some of the best days we've seen on Target.com. We expect to see the demand continue throughout the weekend and into December as we offer more savings on the year's most popular gifts, including Star Wars and Apple products."

Many of the changes made by Walmart and others to stagger doorbusters and alleviate the crowds appear to be working. "When our Black Friday events kicked off, our stores were organized, calm and our associates were pumped," said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Walmart (NYSE:WMT). Black Friday events kicked off at midnight in stores and online. "It was simple and easy to shop, and customers took advantage of offers across channels."

At Target (NYSE:TGT), shoppers were given early access to most doorbusters online beginning Thanksgiving morning. Demand this year outpaced last year, making it Target's biggest day for online sales to date.

Electronics, including video games, were among the biggest sellers reported by many retailers. Prerecorded media was hot, too. Target reported selling more than 3 million movies on Thanksgiving.

Guests also continued to use the Order Pickup option at Target.com. Before 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the number of orders placed for in-store pick up increased by 35 percent compared to 2014.

Big retailers say they're ready for an omnichannel Christmas.

"We've said this Black Friday would be the most integrated between Walmart stores and Walmart.com—and we delivered," Bratspies said. "Tens of millions of customers visited our digital and physical aisles to pick up video games and systems, televisions, movies and toys, many of the top items sold both on Walmart.com and in stores. And, they prepped beforehand—more than 25 million customers accessed store maps and the circular through our online and mobile tools for Black Friday."

For more:
-See this Walmart statement
-See this Target press release  

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