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Shopper traffic expected to be slightly lighter on Black Friday

The holiday season is starting out with a “bah, humbug” for restaurants located in and around shopping centers.

The National Retail Federation reports that the number of consumers who intend to shop on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, will dip slightly from the 2013 level, to 67.6 million people. That would be a decrease of 1.8 million consumers the 2013 tally, according to the trade group.

However, another 72.5 million consumers, or roughly 32 percent of the population, say they’re still on the fence about whether or not to brave the crowds. A go or no-go will be determined by the bargains that are offered, according to the NRF. The number of “maybes” is up by more than a million people from last year’s nose count, the association said.

Many chains with units in shopping malls say they’ve felt a softening of holiday traffic in recent years as more consumers shop online.

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