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Recent Shopping Spree Helps Md. Businesses

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Stocks surged Monday on record retail numbers for Black Friday. The shopping spree is a boon for businesses across Maryland.

Mike Hellgren reports how it’s helping the state’s bottom line.

It’s the sound of success. Retailers nationwide are counting their cash with Black Friday sales up 6.6 percent to a record $11.4 billion. It’s a critical time.

“We need it. We need the economy to be perked up for sure,” said shopper Diane McGargle.

Well-advertised, big deals whipped shoppers into a frenzy coast-to-coast. Their average spree totaled $400, up from $365 last year, and Maryland was no exception.

“Although preliminary sales are not in yet, we anticipate with the foot traffic that we had that sales are going to follow what the trend is nationally,” said Mondawmin Mall general manager Romaine Smallwood.

“We’re optimistic cautiously that we’ll see that reflected in the sales tax revenues,” said State Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Big-box retailers opened their stores earlier than ever.

“The retailers that opened at midnight on Thanksgiving night were thrilled that they did so,” said Mike Gatti, National Retail Federation.

“A lot of people have a lot more money to spend. Things are a little bit loose or people planned better, maybe,” said shopper Erica Cherrie.

While the numbers this year are good, compare that to the boom years. In 2007, sales were up 8.3 percent over the year before.

Minas Konsolas owns a small gallery on the Avenue in Hampden. This is a make-or-break time for him.

“Especially the last three months of the year, it’s half of our annual income,” Konsolas said.

It’s not just brick-and-mortar stores cashing in. Cyber Monday means big deals and lots of traffic online.

The comptroller urged people to shop locally instead of online. He’s upset because online merchants generally don’t charge sales tax.

The comptroller says it will be about a week before sales tax numbers are tallied to give a better picture of how well retailers did on Black Friday.

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