But while consumers did turn out at shopping centers across the U.S., an influx of inventory caused many retailers to resort to promotional levels reminiscent of Black Friday. According to Jefferies analyst Randal Konik, Gap, Old Navy and Ann Taylor all offered 50 percent off the entire store, while Michael Kors offered the same tiered discount that it featured during Black Friday.
Promotions were particularly prevalent on cold-weather apparel and boots, following the warmest November in recorded history. That trend has continued into December, with forecasts calling for temperatures of 72 degrees in New York City on Christmas Eve.
Even Deckers-owned Ugg, which rarely cuts its prices, was offering 15 percent off classic boots in its own stores, while department stores slashed prices by 20 percent.
"The residual impact of weeks of warm weather is still evident throughout the mall, with pockets of excess inventory in seasonal categories," Konik said.
PwC's Barr said consumers, whom he considers the real winners of this holiday season, can expect these deals to continue after Christmas has come and gone.
"In the end, the weather, all the factors that we've been talking about for the past few months, all just ended up coming to a head," he said. "Once we get past the new year the retailers will have one objective, and that is to clear the floor almost at any reasonable cost."