Shoppers seek limited Black Friday deals

Posted November 26, 2010

— Black Friday hoppers searched for deals at local malls and stores on Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Retailers opened early to attract bargain seekers with limited-quantity discounts. The big sale was the lure, but most shoppers were loading their carts with everything from big-screen TVs to stocking stuffers.

"They just keep coming in the door," said Lori Holly, store manager at the Macy's at Crabtree Valley Mall.  

Holly said ladies shoes were a big hit at the store this year. 

"With the economy this year, people are really choosing their gifts thoughtfully. They want something that will give them good value," she said. 

While big box stores and malls were crowded, Elizabeth Mills, owner of Gingham and Posh, had few customers at her basket store in Oak Park Shopping Center on Raleigh's Hollyridge Drive.

"It's slow," she said. "The mailman has been in."

Small business owners can lose out to the Black Friday blitz of advertising and discounting from the chains.

"I wish I could get down there and somehow usher the people this way," Mills said.

Gov. Bev Perdue shares that sentiment. She has dubbed Saturday "Small Business Saturday," noting that small businesses provide nearly half of private sector jobs.

American Express first designated the day, but North Carolina has jumped on the bandwagon in hopes of encouraging folks to support those mom-and-pop shops.

New Mebane outlet mall draws crowds

Traffic was backed up for more than a mile on Interstate 40/85 in Alamance County just before 2 a.m., as holiday shoppers headed to the Tanger Outlet mall in Mebane.

Jan Presnell said her friend was able to find a $260 coat on sale for $40 at the mall. 

“I found some great deals. I won’t buy it if it’s not a deal,” shopper Erica Blackwell said.

Jared Lambert said his family dragged him to the mall, but he was having fun, despite the crowds.

“It was a mad house. It was crazy. There were tons of people, long lines. It was insane,” he said.

Barbara Blackwell was also in Mebane because of family.

“I don’t do Black Friday because I don’t like the crowds, but my lovely sister-in-law begged me and made me feel guilty, if I didn’t come with her,” she said.

Early birds seek bargains

Some people started lining up early for Black Friday deals.

James Blair and his sons were the first in line outside the Best Buy store in Garner. They got there at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and had Thanksgiving dinner off the hood of a car.

The line had grown to more than 10 people by Thursday afternoon. Best Buy employees planned to hand out tickets to people in line two hours before the 5 a.m. opening on Friday.

Blair – who's shopped Black Friday sales for 16 years – said it was important to be first.

"You can be five people in back, and they've already sold out before the store opens," he said. "You can stand in line for 20 hours and still not get what you want."

Shoppers said they were hoping to score one of the $189 laptops advertised by Best Buy. The advertisement said the store might have only three laptops for sale at that price.

Many stores pushed more exclusive deals online on Thursday in a bid to rope in shoppers before Black Friday. It apparently worked. According to IBM's Coremetrics, online sales soared 33 percent on the holiday compared with Thanksgiving 2009.

Consumers began shopping earlier in the day on Thursday compared with a year earlier. And the average order was $182.74, up from $159.81 on last year's Thanksgiving Day.

The Kohl's department store chain, which opened at 3 a.m. Friday, one hour earlier than a year ago, is promoting diamond bracelets and diamonds heart pendants for $99 each, down from $500 or $575. The store is also offering 50 percent off all toys.

Some stores started offering Black Friday deals a day early.

A few stores at the Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield opened as early as 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The mall normally opens at midnight on Black Friday. 

The Sears store in Cary Towne Center was open on Thanksgiving, although the mall itself was closed.

Thanksgiving weekend is huge for retailers. In recent years, so-called Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year, according to data from research firm ShopperTrak. But it doesn't necessarily provide a complete forecast of holiday sales. In fact, shoppers seem to be procrastinating more every year, so the fate of the holiday season is increasingly down to the last few days before Christmas.

Retailers do study buying patterns for the weekend to discern shoppers' mindset. This year, that means taking the measure on their willingness to spend just a little bit more.

Last year, the Thanksgiving shopping weekend accounted for 12.3 percent of overall holiday revenue, according to ShopperTrak. Black Friday made up about half of that.

Mall hours on Black Friday

Carolina Premium Outlets: midnight Thursday–10 p.m. Friday

Cary Towne Center: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Crabtree Valley Mall: 7 a.m.–10 p.m.

Cross Creek Mall: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

The Streets at Southpoint: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Tanger Outlet Mall: midnight Thursday–10 p.m. Friday

Triangle Town Center: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.


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  • liltarheelmommy Nov 29, 2010

    I have to say, I am one of those "crazy" people that shops on Black Friday. I didn't use ANY credit cards, I paid CASH for everything I bought! I don't "camp out" for anything and I'm not gonna "fight" over an item, but I am out in the early morning hours. FOr me, It's not just about the "Deals", the women in my family get together on this day and have a blast!! I know we can do this on any other day (and we do) but, the madness of Black Friday makes it much more fun! Merry Christmas!

  • krazikatt2 Nov 29, 2010

    Really, what is sad is that we have become such a materialistic and hateful society. I personally do not shop for the holidays at a massive scale because it isn't about the huge present. It is about our present family and remembering those no longer with us. It is about the sacrifices made by those before us so we could live our lives in happiness.

  • shortcake53 Nov 26, 2010

    Some of you crack me up. Never saw anyone get so defensive over spending before. And then to assume that no one else has the means to go shopping or has no job, just because we didnt want to stand in some crowded store and fight you over some stupid item. Its not that we dont have the money, its just that we have more sense.

  • harmstrong4 Nov 26, 2010

    Thinks Big Mike..u da man. Just so you know, gave a Homeless guy a quarter yesterday.

  • jjwood2424 Nov 26, 2010

    Alot of you are mad because you did'nt have money to go shopping for Black Friday! Who's fault is that? The answer is.......Yours! How dare you people talk down on people who was able to get out and do some shopping today. I guess next you will be trying to tell them when it's okay to marry and have kids. Get a job and save your money maybe next year you will be able to get out and shop instead of sitting home and downing others on GOLO!

  • Big Mike Nov 26, 2010

    I love all the pessimists on this GoLo only reconfirm the presence of being individuals who need a real life with self confidence, a smile, to want to help those less fortunate, and someone to tell you it will be ok..consider it done!

    Merry Christmas from someone who was once just like you! I'm not anymore. Ho-Ho-Ho!

  • Big Mike Nov 26, 2010

    I work at biggest mall in the area...the crowds were great..the deals above average, and it was the best day for merchants in several years. A sure sign that the economy is recovering in a big way..

  • harmstrong4 Nov 26, 2010

    Sophie Lowe---aaaww did um getum little feelings hurt?

  • Sophie Lowe Nov 26, 2010

    What a bunch of sour pusses. Grinches even, and pseudo intellectual snobs, calling the shoppers uneducated.

    What Business is it of yours if someone wants to go shopping? And how dare you tell someone else what they can do!

    Sheesh people, get a grip. Go buy yourselves some coal for Christmas. Ho, ho, ho.

  • LovemyPirates Nov 26, 2010

    Our former President told us it was patriotic to spend money - so people did. Some wish for the economy to return to was it was 5-6 years go = unbalanced budgets and huge credit bills.