The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start on Black Friday, with retail sales up 7 percent over last year, according to one survey. Now stores just have to keep buyers coming back without the promise of door-buster savings.
Buyers spent $11.4 billion at retail stores and malls, up nearly $1 billion from last year, according to a report released Saturday by ShopperTrak. It was the largest amount ever spent on the day that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and the biggest year-over-year increase since 2007. Chicago-based ShopperTrak gathers data from 25,000 outlets across the U.S., including individual stores and shopping centers.
Online shopping was strong as well, with a 24.3 percent increase in online spending on Black Friday, according to IBM, which tracks sales at 500 online retailers.
Bill Martin, who founded ShopperTrak, said he was surprised by the strong showing. He had expected the weak economy to dent consumer confidence and keep more shoppers out of the stores, or at least from spending much. Instead, he said, consumers responded to a blanket of promotions, from 60-percent off deals to door-buster savings on electronics.
"I'm pleased to see it. You can't have a great season without having a good Black Friday," Martin told The Associated Press in an interview.
Still, he suspects things will quiet down this weekend, as promotions end and the buying frenzy subsides. ShopperTrak is expecting holiday sales to be up 3.3 percent overall through Christmas.
There were few shoppers at Pioneer Place Mall in Portland, Ore., on Saturday.
"This is great, I'm glad I waited," said MaryJane Danan, who drove two hours from Corvallis, Ore., to go shopping with her teenage daughters. She stayed home on Black Friday because she thought the crowds would be huge. But she was surprised by how few people were out Saturday.
AP Business Writer Sarah Skidmore contributed from Portland, Ore.
- Taiwan plane crash survivor crawls out of...
- What happened on the ground the day Flight 17...
- Federal land managers criticized over...
- After government topples crosses in China,...
- Feds cap fines for not buying health...
- Cellphone unlocking set to become legal again
- Disney moves toward $10 hourly starting pay...
- Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall
- Propaganda war continues in Hobby Lobby... 52
- Appeals courts issue contradictory... 49
- Herbert among 6 governors raising... 46
- Gov. Rick Perry sending National Guard... 25
- Hamas calls for end to blockade of Gaza... 25
- Obama fundraises for Dems; demands GOP... 20
- Feds cap fines for not buying health... 20
- Federal land managers criticized over... 18