The good news? Black Friday weekend sales showed a $7 billion spike in consumer spending.
The bad news? Industry experts say this will likely prove more of a blip on the year's retail radar than proof of a sustained economic upswing.
But local stores are keeping the deals flowing and their outlook optimistic.
According to the National Retail Federation, a record 226 million shoppers took advantage of the sales at stores and websites during Black Friday weekend–a 6.6 percent increase over 2010's numbers–and judging by the lines seen in Macomb, local customers contributed to these record numbers.
“We opened at 8 a.m. (Black Friday) and had a line wrapped around the building,” said Tom Brillati, ABC Warehouse electronics expert. "A lot of people seemed to be saving up their money and last weekend was when they bought 80-90 percent of their gifts."
A similar line could be seen at the Best Buy in Utica, which opened at midnight.
However, analysts are warning that the 16 percent growth in sales over the holiday weekend, as reported by the National Retail Federation, may be the only spike in sales retailers see this year.
The “gloomier interpretation,” as the Financial Times reports, is that these “short-lived, deep discounts are the only things that can encourage cash-strapped consumers to spend” and that spending will fall off once the sales end.
However, for the time being, Brillati said he believes the Black Friday momentum will continue through the holiday shopping season as stores continue their sales to keep customers buying.
Because stores offered Black Friday specials on only select items, Brillati said customers will see many stores continuing to drop prices on other items not included in the Black Friday specials as those stores look to reduce their inventory in the coming weeks.
“For Black Friday we had some specific items, maybe a 32- or 50-inch TV, but we have other products we will rotate on special,” he said. “We are still running package specials on kitchen appliances and also quite a few TV specials. There are definitely still deals.”
Best Buy Customer Solutions Manager Alex Markovic said his store even has additional sales events planned to continue drawing customers in the weeks to come.
"We're doing another shopping event from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 4 called a Reward Zone shopping event, where we'll have special offers and customers can get more deals that they didn't get this past week," he said. "We'll be raffling off gift cards and having special offers during those hours."
Markovic added that special promotions and longer hours will be added through the month of December to make sure "customers can get deals through the holiday season."
While managers of local Target and Walmart locations could not be reached for comment and Best Buy does not release its sales numbers, surveys through Market Watch report these retailers saw "positive sales and traffic" on Black Friday.
These gains lifted retail stocks 3.2 percent in the S&P Retail Index, the index's biggest one-day percentage gain since August of this year, according to Market Watch.
Information regarding Cyber Monday's retail gains or losses is not yet available, but with major chains such as Target, Walgreens, Home Depot and Best Buy giving the added incentive of gift cards and free shipping to customers doing their holiday shopping online, customer spending is expected to remain high.
What are the 'hot items' this year?
At ABC Warehouse, Brillati said the most popular Black Friday items were tablets, TVs, notebook laptops and kitchen appliances.
“Tablets were extremely popular along with notebook computers and TVs in general," he said. "Every year the price of TVs go down as the screen sizes go bigger."
In terms of electronics, Brillati said this is the year of the TV and all the latest "goodies," such as 3D packages, and wireless surround sound.
"Flat panel TVs are really big," he said. "You can get a 42-inch for under $400 and they now make a sound bar that can be mounted on the TV that is one small unit, maybe 2 feet wide, but acts like five speakers."
This modern surround sound system is wireless and consists of only one piece mounted on the TV to "give you the impression there are speakers all around the room."
At Best Buy, Markovic is seeing the same trend, with customers leaning toward tablets of all makes, from iPads to Samsung, and technology with 3D capability.
"3D has been getting really really popular this year, with more 3D capable electronics and more 3D content coming out there," he said. "Now 3D shows are available on regular cable channels and movies come out with a regular copy and 3D copy."
Anything in the realm of gaming is also popular, Markovic added.