Nov. 29 - Shoppers swarmed stores for early bargains on Black Friday, but many chose just a few items instead of a cartload. Fred Katayama reports.
They just couldn't wait for Black Friday. Thousands of customers swarmed into Macy's and other stores on Thanksgiving Day, getting a one-day jump-start on bargain hunting from the traditional Friday. Macy's CEO said on CNBC that the frigid weather drove many customers to snap up coats. Electronics was most popular at Walmart. It sold 2 million TVs and nearly 1.5 million tablets. Early shoppers at Best Buy got tickets entitling them to buy big discounted items. Traffic was heavy online: Thanksgiving sales at retailers tracked by IBM rose 19.7 percent over last year. But shoppers overall appeared cautious, buying only one or two items instead of stuffing themselves like turkeys with a cartload of bargains. ShopperTrak predicts US sales at stores will rise just 2.4 percent this holiday season, much slower than in recent years. With six fewer shopping days, this holiday season is expected to be particularly fierce. So retailers like Macy's, Kohl's and J.C.. Penney opened on Thanksgiving for the first time. It's a crucial time because retailers make up a fifth of all sales during the holidays.