cuts in 2013. Also, lasting effects of Sandy, the storm that lashed the densely populated East Coast in late October, could cut into how much shoppers can spend on the holidays.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, two-thirds of shoppers said they were planning to spend the same amount as last year or were unsure about spending plans, while 21 per cent intend to spend less and 11 per cent plan to spend more.
My family decided not to buy (Chanukah) presents this year - only for the kids. It's too expensive, said graduate student Danielle Slade, 29, from Jericho, Long Island.
Still, the Standard & Poor's retail index is up almost 27 per cent this year, compared with a 10.6 per cent increase for the broader S&P 500.
In New York's Times Square, a mix of locals and tourists lined up at Toys R Us.
We just want to see what's happening, said a man who arrived Thursday from Paris. We want to see what Black Friday is. A Santa hat-wearing expeditor quickly whisked him and his companion away before they could give their names.