Heavy discounting took a toll on U.S. retail sales during the Thanksgiving weekend as shoppers spent almost 3 percent less than they did a year earlier, according to data released Sunday by an industry group, Reuters reported.

 

One bright spot this weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, was e-commerce, as online sales soared. The National Retail Federation estimated the average shopper spent $407.02 over the weekend, or 3.9 percent less than during the same weekend last year, because of lower prices it said would persist through the rest of the season.

 

The retail federation said 141 million people went shopping at least once during the holiday weekend, up from 139 million last year. But total spending was expected to reach $57.4 billion for the four-day period - which includes Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year - down 2.8 percent from $59.1 billion over the same weekend in 2012.

 

ComScore Inc., an analytics firm, said U.S. online sales rose 17.3 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

 

Meanwhile, shares of Internet retailers Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. advanced in premarket trading for Cyber Monday. EBay was up 3 percent and Amazon was up 0.9 percent, MarketWatch reported