Friday was the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, which may the weakest in decades, say economic experts.
Many consumers were focused on picking up bargains Friday. Several said they wee slashing their holiday budgets from a year ago as they juggle paying rent and other bills while putting food on the table.
"It helps a lot to not be paying such high prices for gas but, we're still being pretty careful about how much we are spending this year," said Angie Watson who was shopping at Peebles Department store Friday.
"This year a lot of people I know may not get presents or they are getting homemade items like cookies and candies. We just have to cut back this year," added Watson.
Peebles are offering forty and fifty percent off on lots of items as well as extra coupons for even more off.
Walmart had a large circular of items for sale that included all kinds of electronics, gift items and clothing at discount prices. Cashiers were busy in Wal-Mart early Friday morning but the parking lot was not full.
"We shopped some on Thursday afternoon because Wal-Mart was open and we knew it wouldn't be crowed," claimed Kyle Smudge. "We got a great deal on a Kodak Sureshot Camera and several toys for the kids."
Black Friday received its name because it historically was the day when a surge of shoppers helped stores hit the profitability mark for the year. But this year with a deteriorating economy, this day may not have the might it once did.
Still, the day is an important barometer of customer's willingness to spend money for the holiday season. Last year, the Thanksgiving weekend accounted for about 10 percent of overall holiday sales, says ShopperTrak RCT Corp.
While estimates for Black Friday sales this year haven't been released yet, experts think the day will remain one of the season's best selling days, despite shoppers cutting back on spending.