Dec 1, 2014 1:05 PM by NBC News
Shoppers gave Black Friday the cold shoulder this year, except for those packing heat.
Gun sales boomed on the traditional kick start to the holiday shopping season, with the federal background check system setting a record of 175,000 checks on Friday, according to the FBI. On a typical day in 2013, the agency processed about 58,000 checks. Even as overall Black Friday weekend spending was down 11 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation trade group, firearms provided an unexpected flash of hope for sporting good stores and gun shops.
Like any savvy shopkeeper on the shopping holiday, gun retailers used doorbuster deals, bundles and selective discounts to drive traffic. Wal-Mart offered 20 percent off all firearms Friday through Sunday, which included deals on brands like Colt, Mossberg and Remington. At Cabela's, the first 600 in line by 5 a.m. on Black Friday got a chance to win several door prizes, including a Browning composite rifle, a $529 value. According to reports, shoppers lined up at the door and around the corner at various Cabela's locations. Elsewhere, Bass Pro shops offered a Remington .45 automatic pistol for $529, a $200 savings after discounting and a $70 instant rebate.
Store owners denied they were doing much special to drum up business. "Our discounts were consistent with our everyday sales," said Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman Tammy Sapp. "Many of the manufacturers offered rebates as well."