Stores usher Black Friday with easier ways to get deals

Walmart is known for its legendarily crowded Black Friday. Gunnar Rathbun  AP

USA analysts say Black Friday sales should be even bigger than a year ago. Cheddar's Hope King was at the Newport Centre mall in Jersey City, N.J., providing updates on the battle for dominance between retailers' online and offline strategies. The figure represents a 28 percent increase over last year's turkey day total and easily beat the $3.35 billion predicted by the digital analytics firm. They are expected to hit $23 billion on Friday, up from $21 billion during the same year-ago period, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks all forms of payment, including cash.

Some shoppers are complaining that Walmart's creation of a "maze" is making Black Friday shopping take even longer.

"I'm a shopaholic, I shop all the time anyways, I'd shop in both online and in shops", he said.

Kati Anderson said she stopped at Cumberland Mall in Atlanta Friday morning for discounted clothes as well as "the people watching".

Barclaycard, which processes half of all United Kingdom card payments, said that by 15:00 GMT it had seen 10% more transactions from a year earlier.

Black Friday, a period of heavy discounting which originated as a post-Thanksgiving sale in the U.S., has divided retailers in the UK.

But some families stick by their Black Friday traditions.

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year in North America and Calgary consumers are also flocking to local malls and internet shopping sites looking for deep discounts.

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Crowds thinned overnight while some stores restocked and tired shoppers gave themselves and their wallets a break, but they picked back up again as stores started reopening at 6 a.m. for a new wave of shoppers.

"Retailers are pulling out all the stops to get shoppers earlier with online deals and using online to push shoppers in the store", said Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser at the NPD Group, a market research group.

The retail economy is also tilting steeply toward online shopping.

There was little evidence of the delirious shopper frenzy of Black Fridays from past years, in other parts of the country, especially the Northeast, where crowds were thin due to cold weather.

The rest of the mall opened its doors at 6 a.m. "I'm spending all of my husband's money", Tonda Rentfro, who came from Spring to the JC Penney at The Woodlands Mall, said.

Rivas, though, was one of many who ended up finding something while out and about.

Kati Anderson said she stopped at Cumberland Mall in Atlanta Friday morning for discounted clothes as well as "the people watching". Police shot and killed the gunman.

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