Debbie Schwig joined the throngs at Apple Inc.’s Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan yesterday with her husband. They didn’t buy a single gadget.

“We’re here to check things out today,” she said. “We’ll wait until vendors get more desperate.”

Even as stores across the U.S. reported increased traffic on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, sales rose just 0.3 percent to $10.7 billion, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

Still, there were signs of consumer strength. Shoppers took advantage of promotions in the first two weeks of November, pushing up sales 6.1 percent and 6.2 percent respectively. That helps explain why Black Friday sales weren’t more robust, the firm said.