Black Friday deals draw hundreds of shoppers to Woodfield Mall - New York News

Black Friday deals draw thousands to Woodfield Mall, Mag Mile

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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

As the turkey turns into leftovers, hot deals have hit the shelves. Shoppers turned out in droves to take advantage of this year's Black Friday sales.

Serious Black Friday shoppers began their quest for the most discounted prices at Woodfield Mall in the wee hours of the morning. But for patrons of certain retailers – whose numbers are growing - the holiday shopping madness is actually starting on Thanksgiving itself.

FOX 32 News found big crowds at a number of Chicago stores overnight. Although the lines looked a little smaller than in years past, a Crain's survey of Chicago said people plan on spending the same or a bit less than last year.

Shoppers on the Magnificent Mile also took advantage of Black Friday deals, although it was cold and windy outside.

Some retailers, like the 900 North shops, got creative with their store signage, sales and more. Some even offered shoppers their Black Friday collection, which is an online list of where to go, what to buy and most importantly - which store has the best deals and special promotions.

Across the board, electronics seem to be a favorite of Black Friday shopping season, but consumers are also buying clothing and anything in between. Many retailers are offering store wide discounts in addition to early-bird specials which offer shoppers deep discounts until early afternoon.

Droves of people scoured Chicago's downtown shopping district as stores fought for their business. The drastic change in weather in the last 24 hours deterred some, but not all, from turning out to get a great deal.

Many consumers also had a very targeted shopping list, choosing to stop at one store – like the Apple store - versus perusing them all on this blustery Black Friday.

Black Friday is just the beginning of what is expected to be a busy holiday shopping season. Check out the search term "Small Business Saturday" on Twitter to see how people will support their local entrepreneurs the day after Black Friday, ahead of Cyber Monday.

SEE: Online shopping safety tips for Cyber Monday

The Orland Park Best Buy saw long lines overnight, not only for the deals, but for a very special offer. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted Thursday night that she teamed up with the company to give fans a chance to win gift cards and tickets to her show.

Black Friday often means mayhem at the counters, but this year things got extra unruly at a couple of K-Mart stores across the country.

In California, shoppers pushing to get inside the store sparked an angry outburst from one man. Tensions were also high in Indianapolis where some shoppers got angry after missing out on advertised deals despite waiting in line for hours.

Many stores did beef up security for Black Friday to compensate for added tensions between a larger volume of shoppers.

AN EXPANDED LOOK AT BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING NATIONWIDE

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO and MAE ANDERSON
AP Retail Writer

This year's Black Friday shoppers were split into two distinct groups: those who wanted to fall into a turkey-induced slumber and those who'd rather shop instead.

Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving that's named Black Friday because of retail folklore that it's when merchants turn a profit for the year. But after testing how shoppers would respond to earlier hours last year, stores such as Target and Toys R Us this year opened as early as Thanksgiving evening. That created two separate waves of shoppers.

Lori Chandler, 54, and her husband, Sam, 55, were a part of the early group. By the time they reached the Wal-Mart in Greenville, S.C. early Friday, they had already hit several stores, including Target and Best Buy. In fact, they had been shopping since midnight.

"It's a tradition," Lori said as she looked at some toys she bought for her four grandchildren. Sam, smiling, agreed: "We've learned over the years, you have to stand in line early and pray."

Elizabeth Garcia, a sales rep from the Bronx borough of New York City, decided on a later shopping start at about 3:30 a.m. at Toys R Us in New York's Times Square. As a result Garcia, who has three children ages three, five and seven, believes she missed some of the lines on Thanksgiving when the store opened at 8 p.m. That's good news since the crowds got to her last year, and she Garcia almost got into a fight over a Tinker Bell couch.

"This year I wasn't about to kill people," she said.

The earlier hours are an effort by stores to make shopping as convenient as possible for Americans, who they fear won't spend freely during the two-month holiday season in November and December because of economic uncertainty. Many shoppers are worried about high unemployment and a package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" that will take effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then.

At the same time, Americans have grown more comfortable shopping on websites that offer cheap prices and the convenience of being able to buy something from smartphones, laptops and tablet computers from just about anywhere. That puts added pressure on brick-and-mortar stores, which can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season, to give consumers a compelling reason to leave their homes.

That's becoming more difficult: the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, estimates that overall sales in November and December will rise 4.1 percent this year to $586.1 billion, or about flat with last year's growth. But the online part of that is expected to rise 15 percent to $68.4 billion, according to Forrester Research.

As a result, brick-and-mortar retailers have been trying everything they can to lure consumers into stores. Some stores tested the earlier hours last year, but this year more retailers opened their doors late on Thanksgiving or at midnight on Black Friday. In addition to expanding their hours, many also are offering free layaways and shipping, matching the cheaper prices of online rivals and updating their mobile shopping apps with more information.

"Every retailer wants to beat everyone else," said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, a research firm based in Charleston, S.C. "Shoppers love it."

Indeed, some holiday shoppers seemed to find stores' earlier hours appealing. Julie Hansen, a spokeswoman at Mall of America in Minneapolis, said 30,000 people showed up for the mall's midnight opening, compared with 20,000 last year. She noted that shoppers are coming in waves, and sales aren't just being shifted around.

"This is additional dollars," Hansen said.

Hansen said stores that didn't participate in the midnight opening last year learned a lesson. Last year, 100 of the 520 Mall of America tenants opened their doors at midnight. This year, that figure doubled.

About 11,000 shoppers were in lines wrapped around Macy's flagship store in New York City's Herald Square when it opened at midnight on Black Friday. That's up from an estimated 9,000 to 10,000 shoppers who showed up the store's midnight opening last year.

Joan Riedewald, a private aide for the elderly, and her four children ages six to 18, were among them. By that time, she already had spent about $100 at Toys R Us, which opened at 8 p.m., and planned to spend another $500 at Macy's before heading to Old Navy.

"I only shop for sales," she said.

By the afternoon on Thanksgiving, there were 11 shoppers in a four-tent encampment outside a Best Buy store near Ann Arbor, Mich., that opened at midnight. The purpose of their wait? A $179 40-inch Toshiba LCD television is worth missing Thanksgiving dinner at home.

Jackie Berg, 26, of Ann Arbor, arrived first with her stepson and a friend Wednesday afternoon, seeking three of the televisions. The deal makes the TVs $240 less than their normal price, so Berg says that she'll save more than $700.

"We'll miss the actual being there with family, but we'll have the rest of the weekend for that," she said.

But some shoppers decided to stick to traditional Black Friday shopping hours. At a Kohl's store in Milwaukee, which opened at midnight, Lavette Roberts scoured the shelves for clothes her son could take back to college next week.

A Black Friday veteran who has participated for the past seven years, the 45-year-old welder said she was on a strict $500 budget, and she wanted to come out early on Black Friday to get the best deals.

"My husband doesn't play. If I spend $501, he'll make me come back," she joked.

Nicole Page of Bristol, Conn., shopped with her sister at a Wal-Mart in Manchester, Conn., at about 4:45 a.m. on Black Friday. Page, who recently finished school and started working as a nurse, bought an electric fireplace for $200 that she said was originally $600. Her shopping cart also had candy canes, a nail clipper for her dog and other stocking stuffers.

Page said she and her sister stuck with the Black Friday tradition; They've shopped in the early morning of Black Friday in previous years.

"We try to make a tradition of it. It's kind of exciting," she said.

------

Mae Anderson and Anne D'Innocenzio reported from New York. Mitch Weiss contributed from Greenville, S.C. Stephen Singer contributed from Connecticut. Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee. Tom Krisher contributed to this report from Ann Arbor, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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