Shoppers holding bags cross the street near Toys R Us in Times Square on Black Friday in New York City on Nov. 28, 2014. For nearly a decade, Black Friday has traditionally been the official start to the busy buying binge sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo
NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Both online and in-store sales were down during Thanksgiving weekend with one analyst suggesting "Black Friday" sales failed to attract U.S. shoppers.
Ken Perkins, founder of Retail Metrics, also warned that retailers could end up with lower sales for the Christmas season because of the large discounts they used to generate traffic.
"The Black Friday hype has come and mostly gone," Perkins told The New York Times.
The National Retail Federation estimated that 133.7 million people spent time in stores or shopping online during the weekend, spending an average of $380.95. The number of shoppers was down 5.2 percent and individual spending down 6.4 percent from last year and also fell short of the federation's predictions for this year.
Total sales were down 11 percent at $50.9 billion. And sales last year were down for the weekend from 2012.
Many stores kicked off the holiday season by opening Thanksgiving evening or even earlier. But for some shoppers, stories of huge crowds -- or their own past experience -- kept them away.
"I ain't going up there with all the crazy people," Barbara Holmes of Trenton, N.J., told The Wall Street Journal.
Holmes, buying her daughter a phone at a Radio Shack in Pennsylvania, said she went to Walmart last year but plans to do most of her shopping online this year.
Charles O'Shea, a retail analyst for Moody's, told Fortune he spent much of the weekend at stores in New Jersey. He cautioned that Black Friday is only the start of the holiday season.
"This is the first leg of a marathon," O'Shea said. "All this weekend is does is set things up for the rest of the season, to see what works and what doesn't. It's almost like a laboratory."
Walmart and Target reported record online sales. Both used discounts and price cuts to lure shoppers.
"The retailers that have combined their digital and physical presence as part of one overall strategy will be the winners. They got out earlier and won those early sales," said Shelley Kohan of Retail Next.