Even early in the shopping day, Sozzi had already seen lines and bag counts stronger than those of a year ago.

Retailers pulled out all the stops promotion-wise, says Sozzi. Some of the top store promotions included Aeropostale ( ARO), which was offering a 50% discount for stores all weekend. Armani Exchange offered $50 off from a $150 total purchase. Certain Sports Authority stores were offering the first 80 customers $500 gift cards.

All in all, electronics have been the top choice of items to buy on Black Friday. These deals have been strong and retailers are seeing a popular demand for navigation devices and iPods. Sozzi cautions that videogame publishers who do not have a top-tier title in the market are going to see a challenging holiday quarter. He's already seeing discounts arise across the board on games and stronger promotions on some of the leading triple-A titles.

"The whole trick is to get them into stores for the electronic goods they came for and keep them navigating other department," said Sozzi.

For shoppers who wished to avoid the crowds of people -- up to 350 in many cases, waiting in line at the checkout counters -- Sears was a smart destination.

"If you want to go to a place with no lines, go to Sears," says Craig Johnson, a retail consultant at Customer Growth Partners.

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