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Data: Placer.ai; Chart: Axios Visuals

Black Friday was disappointing for retailers this year, as spending numbers underwhelmed and foot traffic declined dramatically, according to data from analytics firm Placer.ai.

By the numbers: Customer visits were down, on average, more than 26% compared to Black Friday 2019 at the six retailers Placer tracked.

The big picture: The National Retail Federation said Tuesday that more than 186 million shoppers purchased something online or in-store from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, down from 190 million a year ago.

  • Shoppers spent an average of $312, a 14% decline from $362 in 2019.

What they're saying: “It’s going to be a tough holiday season for most retailers,” Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at RSR Research, told the Washington Post.

  • “Target, Walmart, grocers and sporting goods stores are cleaning up, but hundreds of thousands of independent retailers have already gone out of business. Things are going to get worse before they get better."

Yes, but: Retailers didn't roll out the red carpet on sales and consumers still came. The 186.4 million shoppers this year was down from 2019 but significantly higher than the 165.8 million shoppers in 2018.

  • “As we’ve been suggesting since early pandemic days, when retailers stopped ordering product, manufacturers stopped making it, triggering broad-based inventory scarcity and allowing retailers a unique opportunity to pull back on promotions, regain pricing power, and elevate profits,” BMO Capital Markets’ Simeon Siegel told Barron's.

Go deeper

WSJ: UPS orders drivers to stop accepting packages from 6 major retailers

A UPS deliveryperson in Kips Bay, New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

UPS ordered drivers to temporarily stop accepting packages from Macy's, Gap, Nike, L.L. Bean and other large retailers this week, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing an internal message confirmed to the Journal by UPS employees.

The big picture: Thanksgiving Day online sales reportedly hit a record $5.1 billion this year, while Americans spent $10.8 billion in e-commerce for Cyber Monday — the biggest U.S. online shopping day ever, per the Washington Post.

2 hours ago - Health

Government website for free COVID tests launches early

COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The website where Americans can request free, at-home rapid COVID-19 tests from the government launched Tuesday and is now accepting orders.

Driving the news: The website went live in its beta phase and is operating at a limited capacity a day before its official launch. Every home in the U.S. is eligible for up to four COVID tests, according to the website.

AT&T, Verizon extend 5G delay over airline panic

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

AT&T and Verizon said Tuesday they would delay lighting up its 5G signals near a limited number of airports after renewed opposition from the aviation industry over concerns about signal interference.

Why it matters: The CEOs of leading airlines warned of catastrophic disruption to flights if AT&T and Verizon deployed 5G as planned this week.