CHICAGO (CBS) — With a country anxious for good economic news, reports are already in on Black Friday 2010 and it looks like people spent just a little more this year.

As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports, Chicago research firm Shoppertrak said that retail sales were up about one-third of a percent, compared with 2009. That means people spent a record $10.69 billion.

Boutique store managers in Chicago’s trendy Armitage-Halsted shopping district were encouraged by their Black Friday sales. 2010 overall has been shaping up to be better for merchants than last year.

Debra Kosek, manager at Lululemon athletic apparel, said, business was “definitely much busier” this Black Friday.

“There’s a lot more people shopping on Halsted, Kosek said. “I think it’s a lot more of destination than it was last year.”

Shoppers like Gisela Canate and Thea Lazrova said they are doing well this year and planned to loosen the purse strings.

Canate said that it has been a “better economy, at least for me, this year than last year.”

Part of the appeal for them was the boutique-style shopping at the stores in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. They didn’t have to worry about stampedes of shoppers at the smaller stores.

“We aren’t at the malls. We’re just doing the smaller shops so that’s okay,” Ann Dodds said. “Less crowded, less overwhelming.”

Yet in the same neighborhood last year, the weak economy hurt Black Friday sales and the overall business climate.

The evidence was apparent by all the empty store fronts.

Not all the spaces were being rented this year, but there’s no question sales have been improving.

Some store managers said they thought things were going to be better weeks ago when they called their customers to encourage them to come out this Black Friday and heard far more enthusiasm.

There is some irony, though. Shopper Paige Nelson said the deals were actually better throughout the city and suburbs last year.

“It seemed that maybe the stores were a little more desperate last year,” Nelson said. “I think they were a little more desperate last year. The sales aren’t as good, the percents are lower so I haven’t been wanting to spend as much as I did last year.”

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