During the first two weeks of the 2003 holiday shopping season, Americans pulled out their major credit cards to charge more than $23.5 billion, and used signature debit cards to charge $7.0 billion in retail purchases. To the delight of retailers, the figures are about 5% above last year. Wal-Mart reported that “Black Friday” sales increased 6.3% to a record $1.52 billion. Chicago-based ShopperTrak estimated that total retail sales for “Black Friday” hit $7.2 billion, a 4.8% gain over the same day a year ago. VISA USA reported that overall spending on its credit and debit cards for Friday and Saturday, November 28th and 29th, exceeded $6.5 billion, a 12% gain over the same period last year. Retail spending, using VISA-branded card products, was up 9%, topping $3.4 billion for the two days. VISA also reported that debit card spending at retailers rose 15%, with a total of 25.7 million transactions for the two-day period, accounting for $1.4 billion in sales. Credit card spending at retailers with VISA-branded cards grew 6%, with more than $2.0 billion in volume for the same period. VISA also says the number of VISA e-commerce transactions increased 46%, generating nearly $338 million in volume, on Friday and Saturday.