Sales of appliances and other home goods rose the most, up about 28% from Black Friday last year. Clothing sales rose 17.5%, department store sales grew just under 17% and sales of health and beauty products rose 11%.

Despite the throngs in stores Thursday night and Friday, many shoppers held off until Saturday, hoping for shorter lines and less drama.

"I can't deal with all that craziness," said Miguel Garcia, a 40-year-old office coordinator who was at a Target in the Bronx, New York, on Saturday. "Compared to what I saw on TV yesterday, this is so much more comfortable and relaxed. I can actually think straight and compare prices."

Garcia was checking prices for phones and tablets at various stores, and planned to delay any purchases until Cyber Monday when he'd have a better sense of the best deals. As money has gotten tighter over the years, Garcia said he comparison shops more.

"It forces you to become a good consumer," he said.

Tanya Dunham, a 32-year-old patient coordinator representative, likewise avoided the crowds on Black Friday and was shopping at the same Target Saturday.

"I don't like to wait (in line) just to save $15 or $20," said Dunham.

For the entire holiday sales season of November and December, ShopperTrak has predicted sales should rise 3.3% over last year. Those two months are crucial for retailers and can account for up to 40% of stores' annual revenue.

___

AP Business Writers Candice Choi in New York and Sarah Skidmore in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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