Raleigh, N.C. — Black Friday dawned cold but sales were hot on the day that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season, area retailers said.
Foot traffic was moving smoothly at Cary Crossroads before the sun came up on Friday. Shoppers who waited outside before dawn to get Black Friday deals were not disappointed.
"I got some good deals and I'm done," Megan Lumley declared just before 8 a.m.
Lumley, a mother of two, was experiencing her first Black Friday at Toys R Us. "It was very crazy," she said, "but I truly decided that this was the best time for me to shop."
She said her 4-year-old and 4-month-old were home in bed while she purchased their gifts. "This is the first time I've done it in my life," she said. "And I will never do it again."
Janell Currin and her daughter dropped $1,200 at the toy retailer, where they looked for Transformers and other treats for her six grandchildren.
Lawrence Mou got the Sony laptop he wanted from Best Buy. He began his vigil outside the store at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.
Dale Gullage, manager of the Cary Best Buy, said the store admitted more than 500 people in groups of 20 when doors opened at 5 a.m.
"I think it's worth it," Mou said of the wait. Those who were first in line got vouchers for the sale items in highest demand.
By noon in Raleigh, parking spaces were at a premium at Crabtree Valley Mall.
Best Buy manager Brandon Johnson had 90 employees on duty and wished for more to help with the crowds.
"I think this year is probably better than last," he said.
The National Retail Federation trade group expects Black Friday crowds to be bigger this year, but retail consultant Walter Loeb said spending for the weekend will be at best unchanged from last year.
Gullage said his store saw fewer early shoppers Friday than in 2008, but that they were buying more big-ticket items like flat-screen TVs, video game systems and computers.
Even the nation's largest grocery chain got into the Black Friday frenzy. Kroger was offering shoppers $10 back for every $100 worth of gift cards purchased for retailers including Best Buy, Pottery Barn and Sears. Kroger's first-ever Black Friday promotion will continue through Dec. 13.