According to a survey of top retail chief marketing officers by BDO USA LLP, Chicago, retailers are expressing increased optimism for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year due to improving consumer confidence and unemployment numbers.

The survey found that retailers project a 3.1 percent increase in sales on Black Friday, compared with last year's projection of 1.6 percent growth, which preceded record sales throughout Thanksgiving weekend 2011.

Cyber Monday 2011 marked the biggest online spending day in history, with sales topping $1.25 billion, and retailers expect it will be another successful event this year, the survey reports. Chief marketing officers anticipate a 4.3 percent increase in Cyber Monday sales, the largest projected increase in the survey’s history.

However, strong Thanksgiving weekend sales will not come without heavy promotions. Sixty-six percent of chief marketing officers expect an uptick in discounts and promotions this holiday season, the survey reports.

"Retailers have learned to adapt to new consumer realities and shape them to their advantage," Ted Vaughan, partner in the retail and consumer products practice at BDO USA LLP, said in a statement. "Consumers are looking to spend, and retailers are responding by offering a broad mix of offline and online deals not just on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but throughout the season.”

The survey also found that retailers hope to further bolster sales through in-store-only deals, email promotions, free shipping, extended store hours, doorbuster deals and loyalty rewards.