San Diego Shoppers Hit the Malls

The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off in San Diego! Stores are hoping for big crowds.

The National Retail Federation says shoppers will see some of the best discounts ever this black friday. They can also expect more give-aways because many stores are desperate to sell off inventory in this slumping economy. Retailers extended their hours, some opening at midnight.

Some San Diegans camped out over night to make sure they got the best deals. "We got here setting up all our tents and canopies in the rain, and we literally got soaked," said shopper Robert Guzman.

Typically, a shopper spends about $350 between Friday and Sunday. Even with the struggling economy, analysts predict some deals will simply be too good to pass up.

Still, while it isn't a predictor of holiday sales, the day after Thanksgiving is an important barometer of people's willingness to spend for the rest of the season. And particularly this year, analysts will dissect how the economy is shaping buying habits in a season that many analysts predict could see a contraction in spending from a year ago.

Last year, the Thanksgiving shopping weekend of Friday through Sunday accounted for about 10 percent of overall holiday sales, according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp.

The group hasn't released estimates for Black Friday sales this year, but experts believe it will remain one of the season's biggest selling days, even as shoppers remain deliberate in their spending.

"This is definitely a hit-and-run mentality," said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group. "They are running in, grabbing the deal and running out. This is what I am seeing this morning."

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