Stores usher in hol­i­days with sales

Ex­panded hours used to com­bat tough econ­omy

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Anne D’In­no­cen­zio

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.

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