American consumers celebrated the day after Thanksgiving in time-honored fashion – they went shopping. So much so, in fact, that they spent far more than forecast, raising hopes that Christmas sales may be happier than anticipated.

Leading the surge was Wal-Mart, which reported record one-day sales of $1.43 billion (€1.44bn; £0.92bn) on Friday, up over 14% from $1.25bn on the equivalent day last year.

Preliminary figures from ShopperTrak RCT suggest that Wal-Mart was not alone. The Chicago-based retail tracking firm found a 12.3% jump in Friday sales to $7.4bn and a 9% increase on Saturday to $5.2bn. The weekend after Thanksgiving is customarily one of the biggest in the year for retailers.

Nevertheless, analysts refused to get carried away, warning that one swallow does not make a summer (or a Christmas) – “Two days of bargain-driven business are not going to change a deep-seated negative trend,” warned one. Total sales for November and December are forecast to grow a far more Scrooge-like 2% to 3%.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff