Black Friday 2011 Sales Set New Record

Black Friday sales increased nearly 7 percent this year over last, according to a recent report from ShopperTrak.

The report stated that in addition to $11.4 billion spent in retail purchases, the largest amount ever spent during the day, retail foot-traffic also rose 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010.

"Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and the traditional start to the holiday shopping season," ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said in a statement. "Despite our sluggish economy, shoppers proved they are looking for value and ready to buy if given a good customer experience. This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006. Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season."

In addition, the report showed that sales in general increased this November, rising 3.6 percent the week of Nov. 12 and 3.8 percent the week before Black Friday. Martin said the increase was undoubtedly in part due to promotions and extended store hours leading up Black Friday.

"Retailers continue to stretch out Black Friday weekend by enticing shoppers with door-buster deals weeks in advance, and (last Friday) consumers were especially bullish," he said.

Granted, the economy is still sputtering, but slight increases in the employment rate mean fewer workers fear layoffs. While consumers are still extremely value-conscious, they clearly responded to retailer price reductions and doorbuster promotions."

According to the website, although consumers have been shown to be visiting fewer stores this year, they are more likely to buy more from those they do visit. In addition, a drop in sales may be coming in the next few weeks due to the high sales success of Black Friday.