the big shopping weekend, said Evan Gold, senior vice president of client services at Planalytics.
The storm "is providing some challenges for people to get to grandma's house, but the reality is, from a business perspective, it's the ideal scenario," Gold said. "Everything's going to clear out. It is going to be cold and dry which are the two things you want for foot traffic over Black Friday weekend."
At Macy's flagship store in New York City, five hundred employees will be working on Thanksgiving Day. The store, two blocks from the Empire State Building and one of the Big Apple's most visited tourist sites, will be open for 26 straight hours, starting on Thursday at 8 p.m. EST, spokeswoman Elina Kazan said.
While U.S. home prices and stock market gains have many upper-income shoppers feeling more confident, data from ConsumerEdge Research's tracking study indicates that there may have been a sharp pullback in consumer spending so far this month.
Low-income shoppers, who often face dismal work prospects and struggle to make ends meet, have been hard hit this year by a reduction in government food stamp benefits.
High earners are better off, but they are concerned about rising healthcare costs and the prospect of yet another U.S. government debt fight on Capitol Hill early next year. They also worry that home and stock prices may be topping out and that the job market may not see further gains.
"They're not rushing out on huge shopping sprees," said ConsumerEdge analyst Peter Reidhead. "We'd be surprised if a strong upswing in December can offset the weak November results and the shorter shopping cycle."
A new survey from Deloitte suggests that fewer shoppers will hit stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year versus last year.
Among holiday weekend shoppers, 13 percent plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving, down from 23 percent last year, according to the online survey of 1,000 consumers.
Black Friday has for years been the official kickoff of holiday shopping season and is still is predicted by ShopperTrak to be this year's biggest day of the season for sales and traffic. This year, 53 percent