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As the Black Friday dust settles, retailers win big through online shoppers

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There was little sign of the frenzied scenes seen elsewhere on Black Friday, but Twin Cities retailers still reported huge sales on the biggest shopping day of the year.

With many retailers starting their sales on Thanksgiving evening, it kept things calmer on Black Friday, the Pioneer Press reports, with measures put into place by many retailers to prevent ugly stampedes already proving successful.

But it wasn't calmer at the tills, with the "Doorbuster" deals enticing shoppers, though CNBC says it is too early to say whether this will lead to a bumper holiday season for the retail industry.

Stay at home shoppers

Nowhere was the increase in sales more noticeable than online, with more people shunning the crowds and doing their shopping from the comfort of home.

Target said it had record online shopping numbers on Thanksgiving, with CEO Brian Cornell telling USA Today this was driven by its free holiday shipping offer, with its deal for 10% off up to $300 in Target gift cards expected to be a big seller in the run-up to Christmas.

"We're seeing visits to the site way up, and we're seeing conversion rates very strong," he told the newspaper.

And Best Buy suffered two website crashes on Black Friday as it creaked under the strain of deal-seeking shoppers.

Crowds appear smaller, protestors out in force

While nationally crowds appeared thinner, there was plenty of people at the Mall of America, which had laid on a host of events for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Around 100,000 visitors flooded through the doors on Thanksgiving evening, with FOX9 reporting more than 280,000 had visited the mall by 9 p.m. Friday.

Those who did make it out to certain stores Friday were greeted by the sight of workers and union members protesting over pay conditions, with KSTP reporting that janitorial staff at Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy were among those demonstrating, and there was also a demonstration outside Wal-Mart in St. Paul.

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