CHICAGO — Shoppers who endured long lines and sometimes-frigid temperatures spent only slightly more during their Black Friday shopping sprees than they did last year, according to data released Saturday by a research firm.
More than a year after the economy's collapse began rattling shoppers, industry observers said Friday's shopping sprees offered a strong start to the holiday season.
"We have struggled for a long time and one of the ways for the economy to get going again is for the consumer to begin to spend more freely," said Bill Martin, co-founder of research firm ShopperTrak, which released its sales figures Saturday. "And I think this is an indication they were willing to do that."
Preliminary sales data from Martin's organization, a Chicago research firm that tracks sales at more than 50,000 stores, showed shoppers spent $10.66 billion Friday. That's only 0.5 percent more than last year, when Black Friday sales rose a striking 3 percent.
Web marketing analyst Coremetrics said its data showed the average amount online shoppers spent on Black Friday rose 35 percent. Overall, Web sales account for roughly 7 percent of retail sales, according to Forrester Research.