The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start on Black Friday, with retail sales up 7 percent over last year.
Buyers spent $11.4 billion at retail stores and malls, up nearly $1 billion from last year, according to a Saturday report from 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, according to the report. ShopperTrak gathers data from 25,000 outlets, 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. Sales were also up 4 percent each in the two weeks leading up to Black Friday as retailers started their promotions earlier than usual or extended their hours. ShopperTrak expects holiday sales to be up 3.3 percent this season.
Pepper spray ARREST: A woman suspected of pepper spraying Black Friday Walmart shoppers to reach a crate of Xboxes surrendered to authorities but was released pending an investigation, police in Los Angeles said Saturday.