Outfitters Inc continued its two-day sale at 40 percent off, and Gap Inc's namesake chain was offering 60 percent discounts for the entire weekend.
The discounts were reasonable but didn't take your breath away, said Liebmann. Retailers are being cautious.
The real tests for retailers will be their levels of discounting over the entire season as well as the amount of online sales this weekend.
American shoppers want to spend. Just give them a reason to come out, said Walter Stackow, portfolio manager with Manning & Napier. They're trained to hold out for deals as Christmas gets closer.
The Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, New Jersey, appeared to be crowded on Saturday, although much quieter than on Black Friday, clerks at several stores said.
Some people were just starting their holiday shopping.
John Dunlap of East Orange, New Jersey, bought bedding at Macy's and said he skipped Black Friday as it is too crazy and not worth it unless someone is shopping for electronics. He said he would shop throughout the season only if he found good deals.
They have to give good discounts because of the economy, Dunlap said.
Vanessa Crenshaw, a 45-year-old accountant shopping at JC Penney, said that if stores pulled back on discounts, she would go elsewhere.
You can always find a deal, someone will have a deal, she said.