NEW YORK -- Black Friday drew plenty of shoppers, but maybe not as many as in recent years, as more people look for bargains online.
But the National Retail Federation estimates nearly 136 million Americans will shop in stores during the four-day weekend.
Best Buy handed out tickets to avoid any pushing and shoving as televisions and tablets went fast, and the non-stop ad campaign for the new "Star Wars" trilogy continued into Black Friday.
Since its inception, the film franchise has racked up $32 billion in merchandising fees, and it's now expected to have "the force" to break more records.
But Black Friday, known as the official start to the holiday shopping season, may have already passed its prime, according to retail analyst Chris Christopher.
"It's still one of the most important days. However, it's just not as important as it use to be. Retailers can't dismiss it, they still have to have a Black Friday strategy and many still do. However, it's not as intense as it used to be," Christopher said.
CEO Jerry Storch of Hudson's Bay Company, which owns Saks 5th Avenue and Lord and Taylor, disagrees.
"You will see all these sales throughout November they call Black Friday sales but they're not really Black Friday. These sales are not as deep and the customer is not ready to go shopping, those are all preseason. This is the first game of the season. This is the start of the holiday period," Storch said.
Unusually warm weather is another added bonus on this Black Friday. But retailers admit that because of a warm fall season, they have an excess of winter apparel that they are looking forward to selling over the next few weeks.
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