Many look to Black Friday as a kickoff and a benchmark to predict how the holiday season will be for retailers. The official numbers come out Sunday, but the stores and the shoppers we spoke to tell us it was busy and long, and just the beginning.
"It's been really busy throughout the day, very consistent," says Michelle Fossati.
In truth, the day after Thanksgiving's no longer the most profitable shopping day of the year. That title now goes to the last Saturday before Christmas, but this is still the day when stores get the most bodies inside to take a look at the deals.
Shopper Sandi Kaiser says, "They had what I wanted on sale, so if I didn't come today, I didn't get it."
That first trip, they hope, is just the hook they need to bring you back.
It's true the early bird got the worm (i.e. the deals), but even in the evening hours, the cash registers are still humming, and the late comers still making and checking their lists.
There was a lot of headway made on this Black Friday, but there are, after all, still 30 shopping days till Christmas.
The retail forecast from the National Retailers Federation puts holiday spending six percent higher than last year. That's actually a more modest increase than the one from 2003 to 2004, but it's up from earlier in the season. Retailers raised expectations as they saw gas prices fall.