Black Friday sales not as high as retailers hoped

By Kimberly Schupp - email

CHICAGO (RNN) - There may have been more people to elbow past on Black Friday, but that didn't seem to translate to higher sales.

Early reports on retail sales for the biggest shopping day of the year indicate that customers walked away with arms full of goodies, but spent modestly.

According to ShopperTrak, which recorded sales and traffic at more than 70,000 stores and malls across the country, customer traffic increased 2.2 percent. Total sales rose just slightly at 0.3 percent over last year to $10.7 billion.

A spokesperson for ShopperTrak, Bill Martin, said the numbers suggest that customers were in the stores, but they were very savvy about searching out the best deals.

"This means the American shopper has adapted to the economic climate over the last couple of years and is possibly spending more wisely as the holiday season begins," Martin said.

Nationwide, sales rose 1.7 percent in the Northeast, followed by a 0.4 percent increase in the Midwest and in the West. Sales declined 0.3 percent in the South.

Deep discounts, early door buster deals and special online deals combined to keep the sales figures level over 2009.

"It's hard to say Black Friday wasn't a success," Martin said. "It's just not the success we saw in the mid-2000s, when the day really became a phenomenon."

Retailers are now looking ahead to Cyber Monday sales. The National Retail Federation predicts a 10 percent increase in sales today, with an estimated 107 million people expected to log on and shop online.

Copyright 2010 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. CNN contributed to this report.