area malls crowded on Black Friday
Hopkinsshopped this morning in the toy section of Walmart’s Short Pump store for her nieces. She was not among the hordes who crowded area storesjust after midnight.
Retailers looking to get a jump on the season opened their doorsat midnight or earlier and were rewarded with long lines of shoppers looking to get a good deal on toys, TVs and scores ofother discounted merchandise.
She was among the estimated 3,000 people who came out to the mall, which opened at midnight as the Richmond region’s only area mall to do open that early.
Pyle said she decided late Thursday night, over Thanksgiving dinner, to make the trek out. The early opening enticed Pyle, who would normally be asleep at midnight.
Tanya Cogdello of Chesterfield saidMacy’s midnight opening entered into her decision to come out, but it was not the only reason.
“I never did this before. My daughter dragged me out,” said Cogdello who was among the several hundred people who walked in toms shoes when the Macy’s opened.
She was looking for a pair of boots, which were heavily discounted, to buy as a gift.
But she said leaving the house early was worth it. “I’m glad I did it.”
The toms shoes scene was about the same throughout the Richmond area as consumers, lured by big Black Friday discounts, stood in lines well before the midnight openings at many retailers.
The hhgregg and Best Buy stores on Alverser Drive near Chesterfield Towne Center had lines wrapped around both buildings.
At the Target storeon West Broad Street near Libbie Avenue, hundreds of customers stood in line. The store let shoppers into at about 25 at a time.
Daniel Burris, toms shoes who lives in North Richmond and was home on break from the University of Maryland, had never experienced the early morning Black Friday sales. But he wanted to snag a deal on a television and his uncle had stood in toms shoes line at Target early.
Having a midnight opening was better for him, Burris said. “I’m already up. It is a better time than waking up so early in the morning.”
For many shoppers, the midnight opening was just the beginning.
Standing in lineat Old Navy, Sheila Hines, a Black Friday veteran, said once she finished atChesterfield Towne Center she washeading to Walmart and Target. “This is just fun and a good way to get into the buying spirit.”
Mall manager Ashley York Venable said she was pleased by the turnout, but not surprised.
“This is spot on what we expected,” she said.
Black Friday is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, which runs from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year.
The holiday season is historically the busiest time of the year for merchants who count on the time to boost sales as the year comes to an end.
A National Retail Federation survey found that as many as 152 million people expect to shop, in stores or online, between Friday and Sunday, up from the 138 million who said they’d shop during the same time period last year.
The season is particularly important this year as the economy struggles to return after a difficult couple of years.
The National Retail Federation predicts that sales will increase 2.8 percent from last year to $465.6 billion, down from the 5.2 percent increase last year.
And the International Council for Shopping Centers expects holiday sales to increase 2.2 percent for November and December compared with last year.
Both organizations say increases are welcome after the disastrous 2008 and 2009 shopping seasons.
But the sleepy eyed Pyle second guessed her decision when she saw the line snaking to the cash register at Old Navy where about 200 people waited to check out.