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Black Friday is behind us, which means that the holiday shopping season has now begun. As stores battled for customers, many lured in shoppers not just with to-the-bone slashes in prices, but also by opening earlier, some even opening doors on Thanksgiving night, which led to that Thursday being tenatively labelled "Brown Thursday."

Preliminary numbers are coming in, and it seems like the season is off to a great start - according to ShopperTrak, spending is up 6% from this time last year, the largest one year increase since 2006-2007. This comes on the back of a good November, during which sales grew about 3%.

If retailers are successful, I'm looking forward to a good dividend year in 2012, with nice raises from some of the top dividend-paying retailers. These 10 retail companies have a history of dividend increases, and will benefit from a good holiday season.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 37
  • Current Annual Dividend - $1.46
  • Current Yield - 2.6%

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates retail stores around the world. The company operates in three business segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE:WSM)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 6
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.68
  • Current Yield - 1.9%

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of products for the home. The company has two segments: direct-to-customer and retail. The core brands in both the direct-to-customer and retail channels include Pottery Barn, which sells casual home furnishings; Williams-Sonoma, which sells cooking and entertaining essentials, and Pottery Barn Kids, which sells stylish children’s furnishings.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 8
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.96
  • Current Yield - 1.2%

Costco Wholesale Corporation operates membership warehouses that offer its members low prices on a limited selection of branded and selected private-label products in a range of merchandise categories.

TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 15
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.76
  • Current Yield - 1.3%

The TJX Companies, Inc. is an off-price apparel and home fashions retailer in the United States and worldwide. The company operates multiple off-price retail chains in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 49
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.56
  • Current Yield - 2.5%

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a home improvement retailer. As of January 28, 2011, the company operated 1,749 stores, consisting of 1,723 stores across the United States states, 24 stores in Canada, and 2 in Mexico.

Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 17
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.88
  • Current Yield - 1%

Ross Stores, Inc. operate two brands of off-price retail apparel and home accessories stores. The company operated a total of 1,055 stores, of which 988 were Ross Dress for Less (Ross) locations and 67 were dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in six states.

Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 9
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.64
  • Current Yield - 2.5%

Best Buy Co., Inc. is a multinational retailer of consumer electronics, home office products, entertainment products, appliances and related services. The company operates retail stores and call centers, and conducts online retail operations under a variety of brand names.

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 44
  • Current Annual Dividend - $1.20
  • Current Yield - 2.3%

Target Corporation operates Target general merchandise stores with an assortment of general merchandise and food departments.

Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE:FDO)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 35
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.72
  • Current Yield - 1.3%

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. operates a chain of more than 6,800 general merchandise retail discount stores in 44 states, primarily providing consumers with a selection of low priced merchandise in neighborhood stores.

The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 7
  • Current Annual Dividend - $0.45
  • Current Yield - 2.5%

The Gap, Inc. is a global specialty retailer offering apparel, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, children, and babies under the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime, and Athleta brands. Most of the products sold under its brand names are designed by the company and manufactured by independent sources.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF)

  • Years of Dividend Increase - 9
  • Current Annual Dividend - $1.16
  • Current Yield - 1.7%

Tiffany & Co. is a holding company and conducts all business through its subsidiary companies. The company, through its subsidiaries, including Tiffany and Company, sells fine jewelry and other items that it manufactures or has been made by others.

Disclosure: I am long WMT.

Disclaimer: This list provides general information, not individually targeted personalized advice. Investors should assess for themselves whether the advice is appropriate to their individual investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs before making any investment decision.

Source: 11 Dividend Paying Retailers That Could Benefit From A Good Holiday Season