Good start to Christmas buying season; Black Friday spending sets record

It's the biggest jump in Black Friday sales since 2007 with an increase of more than 6% on sales of $11 billion.


As usual on Black Friday, retailers used deep discounts on popular items such as toys and televisions to lure shoppers as the holiday shopping season began. Some started sales as early as Thanksgiving night to get a jump on their rivals.

While the Black Friday rise was a "positive indicator for the holiday season," Marcheselli cautioned it is just one day.

ShopperTrak has estimated that sales for all of November and December will rise about 3 to 3.3 percent.

The National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, expects 152 million people to hit stores this weekend, up 10.1 percent from last year. But it expects sales for the full November-December holiday season to rise just 2.8 percent, well below the rise of 5.2 percent in 2010.

We bought a washer-dryer combo at 5 in the morning at HH Gregg and saved $1000. The place was jam packed as several other super sales - including a 50" HD TV for $600 - brought out bargain hunters.

The question of whether the surge can be maintained is what's important. Consumer confidence is at historically low levels so shoppers may not be so eager to part with their cash for items closer to full retail value. But traffic is good which is always a good sign.

Even modest gains from last year would be welcome in an industry that has been decimated since 2008.