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Shoppers hit outlet mall for deals

The retail began with Midnight Madness at the Carolina Premium Outlet mall. Sales started at midnight Thursday and continued throughout Black Friday.

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — For some people Black Friday meant a long drive to an outlet mall.

The retail began with Midnight Madness at the Carolina Premium Outlet mall.Hundreds flocked to the sales at midnight Thursday.
Ronnie Edwards was among the shoppers Friday at the mall.

“There’s traffic parked on the street, on the highway, behind buildings, on the curb – everywhere. It's crazy,” Edwards said.

Curtis and Louise Bonaparte drove from Raleigh to check out the sales.

“We just wanted to get out,” Curtis Bonaparte said. “The malls around Raleigh would have been nice, but we just wanted to come out to Carolina Pottery. We hadn’t been out here in a good while.”

Cheryl Allen and her family traveled from Virginia – about 100 miles away – to hit the outlet mall.

“We come here ever year,” Allen said. “Where we’re at, we can drive probably 45 minutes north or we can come south and we chose to come this way.”

While the drive may be long, outlet managers said it is typical for many of their customers to travel a distance to get there.

Mall Assistant General Manager Crystal Yelberton said many customers drive in from Virginia and Maryland.

Allen was especially interested in checking out the Coach store, which offered handbags at reduced rates.

“We don’t have a Coach anywhere close by and you’ve got 50 percent off,” Allen said.

Yelberton said the deals really benefit the customers.

“Outlet centers are already discounted and then they’re offering additional discounts on top of what an outlet center is already offering anyway,” Yelberton said.

The National Retail Federation predicts close to 128 million people will shop this weekend – down slightly from the 135 million people who said they shopped last year.

Yelberton said it is too early to tell how many customers the mall had on Black Friday.