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US retailers hope hordes of bargain-hunters can lift the economic gloom as the holiday shopping season begins.
After polishing off Thanksgiving turkeys, millions of Americans will head to the shops on Friday for the busiest shopping day of the year.
Black Friday - so-called as it is when many retailers head out of the red and into the black - sees many stores open at midnight, or even earlier this year.
Half of the entire US population is expected to hit the shops this weekend.
..... and what will happen to internet sales?
US Black Friday marred by shootings, pepper-sprayings
The US holiday shopping season is off to a nasty start with several shootings and two pepper-sprayings as bargain-hunters stampeded stores.
The violence gave a whole new meaning to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when many retailers move out of the red and into the black
At least the internet's safe.
Record US retail sales on Black Friday
Sales over the weekend's vitally important Thanksgiving holiday weekend were up 6.6 per cent compared to last year, marking the biggest dollar amount ever spent on Black Friday, the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, said Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak.
Meanwhile, internet sales also jumped for the year, according to the group IBM Smarter Commerce which reported a whopping 39.3 per cent increase in online Thanksgiving spending.
It added that US shoppers have set the stage for 24.3 per cent online growth on Black Friday compared to the same period last year.
....it's all good for the internet to