Big crowds showed up at the malls on Friday. However, across the board, sales were still lackluster, according to the Associated Press. However, online sales on Thursday and Friday, however, rose 11 percent, according to data released by comScore, an Internet research firm.
The National Federation of Retailers said that about 195 million people shopped in stores and online between Thanksgiving and Sunday, up from last year. However, average spending was down.
Meanwhile, the AP reports that merchants are augmenting their online pitches by using social media:
Major merchants including J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings Corp., which operates Kmart and Sears, broke new ground this year by making many of their early morning Black Friday specials available on their Web sites at the same time.
Marketing gurus have started calling the season a "Twitter Christmas" as merchants have been tweeting deals and offering previews of discounts on Facebook pages.
On Thursday, American retailers are expected to report November figures, which will give a more complete sales picture.