Walmart reported strong Black Friday crowds as shoppers jammed stores seeking bargains on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Though some pushing and shoving was reported, Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., told reporters on a conference call today that "any time you get more than 22 million people together you're going to have some behavior you're not proud of." He said the number of incidents was down from last year.
The world's largest retailer said it expects this year's sales to top last year, when 22 million customers were served on Thanksgiving Day.
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Walmart processed more than 10 million register transactions in its stores, the chain reported. To help control crowds, Walmart handed out 1 million wristbands for popular products, allowing people to shop while they waited for deals.
Top sellers in Walmart stores and online included big screen televisions, the iPad mini, laptops, XBOX ONE, PS4 and Call of Duty Ghosts.
At Target, where nearly all doorbusters were available on Thanksgiving Day, "traffic and sales were among the highest Target has seen in a single day," the retailer said in a statement. In the early morning hours, when the doorbusters first became available, Target.com saw two times more orders over last year at that time.
The top sellers included: iPad Air, several large screen TVs, Nintendo 3DS XL and Zoomer the Robot Dog, which sold out by mid-morning.
The early start has created a Black Thursday, which had upset some employees who have to work. But the biggest crowds were out this morning.
Some 15,000 were in line for Macy's opening at its flagship store in New York, according to the retailer's CEO.
The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales to rise 4 percent to $602 billion this year, topping the 3.5 percent growth rate of last year.