Retailers are pulling out all of the stops this year in hopes of pulling more shoppers through their doors during the all-important holiday shopping season. And Black Friday was no exception. Black Friday, which typically marks the official start of holiday shopping, kicked off a bit earlier this year with retailers including Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Best Buy all opened their doors on Thanksgiving night. This early start certainly paid off for some retailers. Here's a look at three retail stocks that are celebrating record sales this season.
A record start for discount retailers
Wal-Mart achieved record-breaking results during its Black Friday event this year, helped by exclusive savings on gaming stations such as the new Sony PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One . In fact, the discount chain said it was the best Black Friday in the Wal-Mart's history. More than five million customers participated in Wal-Mart's One-Hour Guarantee promotions on Black Friday , while more than 22 million customers shopped at the company's stores on Thanksgiving Day .
Moreover, Wal-Mart sold two million flat screen TVs, 1.4 million tablet devices, 2.8 million towels, and 300,000 bicycles on Black Friday . Not impressed yet? Target also generated strong sales during the biggest shopping day of the year.
Target said both sales and traffic at its stores were among the highest the retailer has ever seen in a single day . By mid-morning on Black Friday, Target's 1,797 U.S. stores had sold out of products such as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPad Air, several models of large screen TVs, and Nintendo's 3DS XL gaming devices .
1 hidden winner among the discount chains
Overall, Black Friday sales were down 13.2% from last year, according to ShopperTrak . However, 141 million Americans still shopped Black Friday deals both in stores and online this year, according to the National Retail Federation . Moreover, if the initial results from Wal-Mart and Target are any indication, it should be a strong holiday shopping season overall for retailers. These sales figures also bode well for tech giant Apple.
If reports from InfoScout are correct, Apple's 16GB iPad Air was the top selling device at Wal-Mart and Target stores on Black Friday . Both stores were offering impressive Black Friday deals on Apple products. Target, for example, was giving away $100 gift cards with every iPad purchase. On top of this, Target selling Apple's latest version of the device, the iPad Air, for $479 . That's a $20 savings over Apple's price of $499 for a new iPad Air . While we'll have to wait until after the holidays for more insight into Apple's exact retail sales for the period, analysts are optimistic. Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray says that the iPad and iPhone are on track to be among the top gifts of 2013 .
Fool contributor Tamara Rutter owns shares of Apple and Target. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.