Black Friday shoppers push rise in US retail sales

Frenetic shopping day is make-or-break period for US retailers struggling amid global woes
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Customers shop for electronics items during 'Black Friday' at a Best Buy store on November 25, 2011 San Diego, California (Getty Images)
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Thousands of consumers queued at various stores across the US to take advantage of 'Black Friday' deals as the holiday shopping season began in America (Getty Images)
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The holiday shopping season that traditionally kicks off on Black Friday - the biggest day of the year for retailers - was closely watched by investors as consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the US economy (Getty Images)
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ShopperTrak, which measures retail traffic, estimated that sales rose 6.6% on Friday compared with a year earlier (Getty Images)
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Pedestrians and shoppers fill the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue on 'Black Friday' in New York City (Getty Images)
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In 2010 retailers also got off to a strong start to the holidays, only to see a sharp and quick falloff (Getty Images)
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The tough economy, coupled with smart phones that allow for fast comparison of prices, mean the pressure to offer consumers something special and affordable is intense (Getty Images)
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Retailers are also trying to strike the right balance between not having too much inventory that must later be sold at profit-draining discounts and making sure they do not anger customers by running out of popular items (Getty Images)
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Black Friday bargain hunters wait in line at Toys R' Us (Getty Images)
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Online shopping soared on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, suggesting that Cyber Monday - the biggest online shopping day of the year - could be a banner day for retailers (Getty Images)