Black Friday sales boosted by early openings

A recent study detailed the spending trends consumers had as they went about their holiday shopping late last year.

According to electronic commerce and payment processing firm First Data Corporation, a considerable amount of spending was done on Thanksgiving Day, as consumers appeared to have taken advantage of retailers opening their stores earlier than in the past. For sales on Thursday and "Black Friday," retail sales volume growth was 6.3 percent compared to the same two-day stretch in 2010, and transaction volume surged 7.3 percent year-over year.

Silvio Tavares, division manager of First Data, said the momentum of increased spending that occurred on Thanksgiving Day lasted through the weekend, a significant boon for retailers and a positive indicator that purchases will continue.

"Consumers definitely responded to the early openings and discount prices," said Tavares.

Consumers who plan to continue their increased spending patterns during 2012 should be sure to review their credit histories, making sure there aren't any unfair or inaccurate marks left on their credit reports. Such discrepancies may cause credit scores to drop, making financing options more difficult.