Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
The National Retail Federation says Black Friday got the holiday shopping season off to an energetic start, with spending up 7 percent from last year. Meanwhile, the Utah Retail Merchant Association reports a 2.5 percent increase in spending this year over last year.
Utah retailers admit that's better than they expected and hope it's a sign of what the rest of the month will hold.
"We still haven't hit our busiest shopping days -- that's the week before Christmas. So we're hopeful, and the members feel like the bargains are going to continue up through Christmas. At least initial reaction is better than we had hoped," said Jim Olsen, president of the Utah Retail Merchants Association.
Olsen says the majority of Utah shoppers purchased clothing and accessories, then electronics. He also noted that the early-bird specials and sales enticed shoppers to spend.
Utah businesses we talked to were very happy with sales over the weekend and think loyal customers will continue shopping through Christmas.
"Business for us has been fantastic. We're up this year. We've been growing steadily all year, so we're really excited about it. I think it's going to be a great season. We've had a big sale, and the biggest day for our store in 10 years," said Suzette Eaton, owner of Hip and Humble.
Lizzie Dalton, with The Children's Hour, said, "We're doing well, about the same as last year. We're lucky to have loyal customers that keep coming in and support us, which is nice."
Both of those businesses are part of Local First Utah, an organization that is encouraging Utahns to spend 10 percent of their Christmas budget at stores that are locally owned. The idea is that the shift will help keep millions of dollars in the local economy.
This week is dubbed "Buy Local First Week." CLICK HERE for a list of locally-owned businesses as well as a coupon for 10 percent off.