Stores usher in holidays with sales
Expanded hours used to combat tough economy
NEW YORK — Malls and stores were jammed for predawn discounts on everything from TVs to toys on the official start of Christmas shopping as consumers shrugged off worries about rising gas prices and falling home values.
The aggressive tactics — bigger discounts and expanded hours like midnight openings — apparently worked Friday. Based on early reports, Macy’s Inc., Toys “R’’ Us, K-B Toys Inc. and others that pushed big price cuts, reported bigger crowds for the early morning bargains than a year ago. Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said they were also pleased with the shopper turnout.
Electronic gadgets, particularly the hard-to-find Nintendo Wii, topped shoppers’ wish lists, though frustrations were high among consumers who couldn’t get their hands on the limited bargains.
With the economy relying heavily on the consumer, however, it’s crucial that the Black Friday euphoria lasts throughout the season, expected to be the weakest in five years.
“I’m really looking for the bargains this year because I’m losing my job; they’re moving our plant to Mexico after the first of the year, so I have to be careful,” said Tina Dillow of New Richmond, Ohio, who camped out at a Best Buy store near Cincinnati at 3 a.m. because of a great deal on a laptop.
Louise Jackson of Chesapeake, Va., arrived at the MacArthur Center, a mall in downtown Norfolk, Va., at 7:30 a.m., a half hour before it opened.
“We’re just browsing, to see what’s out here, to see if there’s anything that would be worth it,” she said. By 9:30 a.m., she hadn’t bought anything, although she did place a pair of pants for herself on hold at Nordstrom. Her only shopping strategy was to keep an eye out for good deals.