The gates have opened and Santa's Little Helper has arrived.
Black Friday sales rose 6.6% over last year, as shoppers spent $11.4 billion at stores around the country, according to a report released by the research company ShopperTrak.
That's a decent start for retailers who have started bulking up their seasonal staffs.
The bigger question for the retail sector is whether shoppers will continue to spend as much once the big sales are over. One foreboding sign: consumer spending rose less than expected in October, inching up 0.1% after a 0.7% increase in September, leaving less hope for November. That could turn Black Friday into a short-lived high.
"It will probably be a lukewarm holiday season," JPMorgan's chief U.S. economist, Michael Feroli, told Bloomberg. "We are not hearing anecdotes of a major pullback, nor does it look like consumers are accelerating their spending."
If so, that retailers won't need to continue hiring temporary workers in December and January. A weaker-than-expected holiday season all around could also mean fewer opportunities for temporary workers to move into full-time positions in 2012.
Retailer Report Cards (FINS)
Glassdoor.com has ranked the best retailers to work for. See who tops the list.
Text Hiring (Nashville Public Radio)
Text the word "jobs" and you might get one at Target. The retail giant is testing a program to hire employees through text messaging at three of its stores in Tennessee.
Client Gift Giving (Sales Machine)
Sales Machine offers seven tips to keep in mind when giving your clients gifts.
Media Planning (Ad Age)
Every company needs a director of "earned media" with expertise in media planning and buying to make the best use of pushing out brands via social media, says Ad Age.
Off the Board (NYT)
James Murdoch, son of Rupert, has stepped down as director of two companies owned by family-controlled News Corp., the parent of Dow Jones, which owns FINS.
Target.com's New Boss (Retailing Today)
Casey Carl, Target's senior vice president of merchandising for entertainment, toys, sporting goods and electronics, is taking on a second role: president of multichannel marketing.
Buzz Around the Office
Elderly people can enjoy Pop Rocks too.
List of the Day: Starting a New Job
There's traditionally a lot of hopping between firms toward the end of the year and the beginning of the new. When starting a new gig, keep these tips in mind.
1. Don't be a know-it-all.
2. Don't tout your accomplishments obnoxiously.
3. Don't be too proud to ask for help when you're settling in.
(Source: On Careers)