Black Friday: Small firms saw big bounce, too

Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend sales rose 23 percent from last year for America's smallest businesses, according to a new survey. 'Small Business Saturday' helped sole proprietors, but Black Friday was where they saw the biggest gains. 

By , Business editor

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    Street signs mark the intersection of Main Street and Wall Street in Windom, Texas, in this 2008 file photo. Black Friday proved a boon not only to big retailers, but to America's smallest Main Street businesses as well.
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The Black Friday sales boom not only boosted the fortunes of big retailers, it benefited America's smallest businesses, too.

Sole proprietors saw weekend sales rise an average 23 percent over last year's Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey of 10,000 businesses by Outright, an online accounting service for small business. The survey by the Mountain View, Calif., company included all kinds of one-man businesses, from dog walking to consulting and design.

Some of that gain came Saturday. For the second year in a row, American Express promoted "Small  Business Saturday," offering a $25 credit to cardholders who patronized small businesses this past Saturday.  The campaign's Facebook page generated more than 2.7 million "Likes" from users.

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But Black Friday proved even more beneficial to sole proprietors, according to the Outright survey.

Online firms did the best of all, selling an average $440 over the entire weekend, compared with just $100 last year.

“We are thrilled to see that these small businesses, who are the lifeblood of America, have shared the benefits of a healthy increase in sales over the four key sales days of Thanksgiving weekend," Steven Aldrich, Outright's chief executive officer, said in a release.

The stronger-than-expected boost to retail sales may help boost the outlook of small businesses. The National Federation of Independent Business says that its optimism index gained 1.3 points, although the reading is still slightly below the year-to-date average.   

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