Black Friday, the first official day of the holiday
     shopping season, saw that "despite the robust nature of the
     economy, most people were hunting for bargains and giving
     cold shoulders to a lot of things that were not marked down"
     (Jennifer Steinhauer, N.Y. TIMES, 11/29).  In L.A., George
     White reported that shopper turnout Friday "was up" 5-10%
     nationally.  White: "However, despite the strong turnouts in
     some locations, not everyone was buying heavily.  Sales
     appeared to be up only slightly over last year, and much of
     the increase was generated by bargain hunters" (L.A. TIMES,
     11/29).  PBS's Suzanne Pratt said surveys showed that
     holiday sales should gain about 4.5% this year to around
     $162B ("NBR," 11/28).  Gerard Klauer Mattison, NY, retail
     analyst Tom Filandro: "We think there's a couple of trends
     happening in the marketplace which are favorable for the
     specialists in particular.  We think they will gain market
     share from department stores.  There's a lot of product
     innovation, brands are driving the business, and we strongly
     believe that we're in a fashion bottom cycle on the apparel
     front" (CNBC, 11/28).  Internet holiday sales are "expected"
     to top $1B for the first time ever (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/28). 
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