Holiday Central 2012

Less Stress—and More Bags—This Black Friday

Reuters With CNBC.com
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With Black Friday deals kicking off on Thanksgiving evening and continuing into Friday afternoon, shoppers walking the mall appeared less stressed and more willing to buy.

Richard W. Rodriguez | AP Images for Target

There were long lines as the shopping frenzy known as Black Friday kicked off at a more civilized hour, with some shoppers welcoming decisions by retailers such as Target and Toys 'R Us hat moved their openings earlier into Thursday night.

Shoppers seemed to show little concern that the U.S. economy could be pushed over a if a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts take effect in January. Some economists fear that could lead to another recession.

Shoppers appeared to be carrying more bags than they did last year at the Glendale Galleria mall, according to Jackie Fernandez, a partner at Deloitte & Touche, who serves the retail and distribution sector.

"There isn't the same frenzy, with shoppers fighting for whatever bargains there are," Fernandez said, in an interview with CNBC.com. "It's nothing like that this year, it's a lot more relaxed."

Fernandez expects that bodes well for holiday season. A consumer survey Deloitte took ahead of the holiday suggested shoppers would spend an average of $286 over the holiday weekend, which is a 28 percent increase from a similar survey last year.

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Yet the National Retail Federation expects sales during the holiday season to , a more modest pace of growth than in the prior year. That makes the stakes high for U.S. retailers, who can earn more than one-third of their annual sales and 40 to 50 percent of their profits during the holiday season, which generally starts with Black Friday.