By Stephanie Lucero, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Shoppers arrived early, stayed late and braved temperatures at the freezing mark on this first day of the holiday shopping season.

At North Park Mall Rick Rivas of Dallas shopped with his wife and within four hours they had purchased 25 gifts for people on their list.  “I think the sales are a lot better than last year” says Rivas.  “There’s more opportunities for us to save money and I think that’s why I decided to come out and shop this year.”  Rivas works in sales and say this has been a good year for him.

The National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend 2.3 percent more this holiday season.  That information is based on several indicators including employment figures, industrial production, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales reports.

“While consumers have shown they are once again willing to spend on what’s important to them, they will still be very conscientious about price” says NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D.

Meera Snyder and Jillian Papaneck waited in line at 10pm for the Target store in Hurst to open at two a.m.  Papaneck created a spread sheet based on information she gathered on-line.  “I was just looking on there to see what time all the different stores opened and just created a spread sheet and we just kind of went from there” she says.

Northpark Mall executives say last year the shopping center averaged 50,000 customers each day on Thanksgiving Day weekend.  This year they expect to top that.