By Michelle Graff
New York--Even though a late Thanksgiving means a shorter period for holiday shopping in 2013, fewer consumers indicated that they will shop during Black Friday weekend this year, a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey shows.

According to a preliminary Thanksgiving weekend shopping survey, 140 million people plan to shop over the weekend, which, this year, includes Thursday as well as Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Even though it includes an extra day, the weekend shopper count is down from the 147 million who planned to shop over Thanksgiving weekend 2012.

The survey found that for those who plan to shop over the weekend, Black Friday will be the biggest day of all, with 69 percent of surveyed consumers hitting the stores that day. Additionally, 44 percent indicated that they will shop on Saturday and 24 percent will shop on Sunday.

For the first time, the NRF also asked consumers if they plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, and 24 percent said they would.

“Though many people have already started to check off items from their holiday shopping lists, we fully expect to see many more come out on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend to take in the festive sights and sounds and to take advantage of unbeatable deals,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

In terms of retailer activities, the holiday survey found that half of stores plan to start their Thanksgiving weekend online promotions at least five days beforehand. And in recognizing the potential for Thanksgiving, about 54 percent said they would offer promotions specifically for that day.

With a Thanksgiving that falls as late as the calendar possibly allows and a short holiday shopping season, though, a number of retailers started their holiday promotions and free shipping offers as early as October this year. And consumers appear to be responding, with more than half indicating they already have started their holiday shopping.

The holiday shopping survey was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics and polled 6,201 consumers from Nov. 1 to 7. 

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