US retail sales on Black Friday hit a new record for the start of the holiday shopping season that follows Thanksgiving, according to early estimates published today.
Sales hit $11.4 billion, up 6.6 percent compared to last year, and the biggest dollar amount ever spent on Black Friday, Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak said in a statement.
It was the largest year-on-year gain since an 8.3 percent increase in sales between 2006 and 2007, the firm said.
Foot traffic in stores was up 5.1 percent compared to Black Friday 2010.
Shoppers mobbed malls and went online in droves to snap up bargains late Thursday, through the night and into Friday — an annual sales ritual that marks the start to the end-of-year shopping season relied on by many retailers.
The shopping frenzy lasts throughout the weekend and into Cyber Monday, when retailers offer hot deals online following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The increase in sales appeared to be far higher than the inflation rate, which eased to 3.5 percent in October as compared with a year ago, according to US Labour Department data.
The National Retail Federation was due to publish its first Black Friday sales estimates on Sunday.
Great! Makes up for the woman who pepper sprayed the Wal-Mart crowd!