Black Friday lived up to its name. With ShopperTrak RCT reporting a 12.3 percent rise in sales the day after Thanksgiving when, tradition has it, red ink turns to black, business owners, real estate execs and consumers alike were in a holiday mood.

The joy of the season, however, was tempered by the benchmark against which the growth was judged. Last year, same-store sales increased a mere 2.7 percent for the day from the previous year. What’s more, with the shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas six days shorter than last year, shoppers may have purchased more at the start to make up for lost time.

While we await the final tally that will have the industry either popping Champagne corks or curbing their enthusiasm, Shopping Center World will keep you informed of Christmas grinches and gainers.

One of Black Friday’s biggest winners was Wal-Mart. The giant of the giants reported sales of more than $1.4 billion—a record for one day. No surprise then that Wal-Mart was on the minds and lips of participants at this year’s ICSC New York Conference & Deal Making Conference, which concluded today in midtown Manhattan.

At the Wall Street on Retail panel discussion Monday, Goldman Sachs managing director George Strachan estimated that by 2006, Wal-Mart would control 13 percent of the grocery market—a 5 percent or so increase from today. Of course, Wal-Mart can’t take over the world, or so competitors hope. Bank of America Securities hardlines retail analyst Aram Rubinson suggested that the retailer will motivate others to follow its example and strengthen their own businesses, while Strachan and Meredith Alder of Lehman Brothers said the company’s focus on cheap real estate will keep it out of urban markets like New York City.

Still, by the time the panel ended its discussion of Wal-Mart’s escalating threat to competitors, Black Friday was already a distant memory.