Local News

Customers come out for 'Black Friday' retail romp at malls

Posted November 23, 2007 7:57 a.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2008 12:45 p.m. EST

— Black Friday dawned with brisk weather, and shoppers kept up a brisk pace during the day as retailers counted dollars on the day their businesses traditionally move into the black for the year.

The morning chill certainly didn't hinder early-risers who wanted to snag opening-hour bargains.

Sonia Santamaria was under blankets but wide awake in the dark as she waited with about 20 others in line outside a Wal-Mart.

“I expected a lot more but I'm grateful for the company. Everyone's been nice. No one's edgy, so that's a good thing,” she said.

Later in the day, throngs carrying shopping bags trooped through Triangle Towne Center in Raleigh, and the mall said it expected between 50,000 and 75,000 pairs of feet to walk through the doors before stores closed at 10 p.m.

"This is the big day that everyone's been gearing up for," said mall Marketing Director Jennifer Jones.

Some of those at the mall had tasks other than buying.

"I carry the bags. That's what I'm here for. I'm the bag-toter," Alex Burt said. His girlfriend, Becky Cunningham, didn't disagree with his job description.

"I just like getting in the hustle and bustle," said Sandy Page, who was shopping with her daughter, Chelsea. "It gets you in the spirit of the holidays."

Earlier Friday, company was easy to find outside a Best Buy store in Durham, where hundreds huddled in the cold in hopes of scoring bargains. The first person had staked out her spot at noon Thanksgiving Day.

Mary Spencer said she at least had turkey before she came out to execute her Black Friday strategy.

“We've got to get what we want. That's all there is to it – if you don't get in line, then you won't get what you want,” Spencer said.

Julius Davis said he learned that the hard way last year. This year, he hoped to snatch up a laptop bargain.

“I waited a year for this. I wanted to buy a laptop last year and I was not far up enough in line to get it,” he said as he waited.

Later, he said his diligence had paid off.

“I got exactly what I wanted this year. This is gonna be great. Happy Christmas!” Davis said.

People also waited at the Smithfield Outlets, where doors opened at midnight. They arrived five hours early and sat outside – in the dark – just to be the first.

Outlet store signs promised 50 percent, even 75 percent off, for the first few hours the stores were open.

The lines were also because many stores had limited quantities of their door-buster deals. The bargains were almost certain to disappear quickly.

Some stores also offered discount coupons for the morning hours so people who were not waiting in the dark when the doors opened could still reap some savings.

The day is known as Black Friday because it is the day retailers hope the rush of holiday shopping will move them from losing money to making money for the year – moving into the black. Some estimates say that Black Friday can account for 40 percent of holiday sales.

Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the U.S. economy.