Washington, Nov 28 (IANS) US consumers spent about $44.5 billion during this Thanksgiving weekend, slightly below a year ago, the country's largest retail trade association said on Sunday. More than 154 million consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, two per cent above the 151 million shoppers last year, Xinhua news agency quoted the National Retail Federation as saying. "It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "In fact, over one-third of shoppers said 100 per cent of their purchases were on sale," he said. Average spending per person over Thanksgiving weekend totalled $289.19, about 3.5 per cent lower than $299.6 last year, making the total spending 1.56 per cent lower than the last year, said the NRF. Stronger sales were expected in the rest of the holiday season as less people have finished their holiday shopping compared with last year. "With mid-season shopping behind us, it's not too late for retailers to tweak their online and in-store strategies to help increase traffic and see a big payoff during the last few weeks of the holiday season," Shay said. The total retail sales in this year's holiday season from November to December were expected to reach $655.8 billion, 3.6 per cent higher than the last year, better than the average level of 3.4 per cent since 2009, because stronger US economic fundamentals have driven income gains, said NRF in October.