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NEW YORK Retail foot traffic between Thursday and Sunday rose 8.4% to more than 594 million store visits, signaling retailers' earlier promotions and longer store openings may have paid off in the kick off of the holiday season sales on Black Friday weekend, ShopperTrak said on Tuesday. In another positive note, retail sales also rose 2.7% to $ 22 billion from $ 21.4 billion last year even though Friday sales were down. The four-day weekend last year represented 8.6% of the total industry holiday sales in November and December last year. ShopperTrak said traffic also rose Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving. "This indicates that some retailers are turning 'Black Friday' into a week-long event, and more consumers are visiting stores earlier in the week," ShopperTrak's Bill Martin said, adding the four-day weekend marked a strong start to the 32-day shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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