Did long lines equal big money for Valley retailers?

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Shoppers look for holiday deals

PHOENIX - Black Friday shopping is expected to be down this year but according to a new survey, those lower gas prices could provide a small boost for the suffering retail industry.

Stores prepared for the un-official start of the holiday shopping season.

This year's holiday season will be a challenging one and consumers no doubt will be spending less than previous years, but with gas at the lowest it has been in years, retailers are crossing their fingers.

Retailers are struggling too. Circuit City recently filed for bankruptcy and many stores are lowering their holiday sales predictions. The grim reality is that household spending fell 1%. That is the steepest decline since September 11 and claims for unemployment benefits are the highest in 16 years.

However, there could be folks who wait all year long just for the sales.

The state of the economy adds a level of unpredictability. Retailers like K-mart and Sears are offering pre-black Friday sales in order to entice consumers to spend.

But if you don't want to head to the store you can always go online.