Black Friday sprawl means fewer pre-dawn shoppers in South Florida

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BREKKIE WRAP: US shoppers brawl over Black Friday deals.

The thrill of scoring a pre-dawn Black Friday deal has mostly disappeared as many stores open Thanksgiving night and offer bargains online throughout the week. Shoppers push and shove each other while yelling out loud as they try to get hold of widescreen TVs, games consoles and other heavily discounted products.Black Friday shopping at Charlotte-area malls was steady but decidedly lower-key than in the past, reflecting a national trend as stores opened earlier on Thanksgiving and as people continue to do more of their shopping online. But as a policeman moves into the crowd to calm the situation down, it’s all to much for one over-eager punter and he takes a big swing at the officer. Starting my morning at 6 Friday, I hit five malls in five hours, beginning with Concord Mills, then on to Northlake Mall, Charlotte Premium Outlets, Carolina Place and SouthPark.

But at 3 a.m., the corridors were mostly empty except for clusters of young customers and couples sprawled out on sofas and chairs in the middle of the mall. America’s notorious Thanksgiving sales descended into violence again this year, with many renaming it Whack Friday after fights broke out among bargain hunters. Overall, the US National Retail Federation estimates about 135.8 million people will be shopping during the four-day weekend, compared with 133.7 million last year.

And it expects sales overall for November and December to rise 3.7 per cent to $US630.5 billion ($876 billion) compared with the same period last year. — AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, an avowed republican, has met Queen Elizabeth II for the first time at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

— BULLYING, threats and payback is allegedly happening behind the closed doors of Wyndham Council, with things getting so bad Western Metropolitan Region MP Bernie Finn has told parliament the councillors should be axed. But some shoppers remained committed to the traditions of Black Friday, when retailers nationwide advertise low prices as people gear up for the holiday season. — CONTROVERSIAL former AFL player agent Ricky Nixon can publish his book containing chapters about his relationship with “St Kilda Schoolgirl” Kim Duthie. A shooter wounded one person who was left with non-life threatening injuries outside an Alexandria, La., mall on Thursday night, but local authorities quickly determined the attack had nothing to do with Black Friday. — POLICE have made an arrest in connection with the ‘unspeakable murder’ of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, who was lured into an alley and shot in Chicago.

— PARIS ended a period of mourning for those killed in last fortnight’s terror attacks with a solemn memorial service attended by 1000 survivors and relatives of the victims. — PRINCE Harry has had a heartwarming reunion with an old friend who lost his parents to AIDS, as UNICEF announces that the disease is the leading cause of death among African teenagers.

Cheap gas, more jobs and rising wages all help. “Work has been good,” said Reggie Hawkins, a furniture mover, over a plate of eggs and potatoes at the Aventura Mall food court. “There are more people moving around.” Surrounding Hawkins and his wife and two stepsons were 16 bags brimming with pots, pans, perfumes, wineglasses, clothes, a cappuccino maker, video games and a pair of remote control cars for the two boys. Sales across Florida are expected to rise 4.5 percent compared to last year, according to the Florida Retail Federation, outpacing predicted national growth of 3.5 percent. Gap was offering a free tote bag and an additional 10 percent off its already half-off Black Friday promotion, and Anthropologie, which offered 25 percent off everything store wide, was giving away miscellaneous freebies like gift tags and certificates. Even so, “it’s definitely less crowded than I expected,” said Eddie Alicea, a shopper at the Dolphin Mall who was patiently holding a Banana Republic bag as his wife, mother and teenage daughter browsed a jewelry store nearby. “I think the people who really wanted the best deals were here last night.” Sawgrass Mills, the massive outlet mall in Sunrise, was jammed by noon.

Even though the dollar is up nearly 13 percent against the Argentine peso since last year, Bosio said prices in America are still much better than back home. “The prices are so much better here,” said Matamoros, as she zipped up a suitcase full of clothes and makeup. “It’s half the cost because our taxes are so high.” This was Penn’s first Black Friday but she said she will do it again, pointing to the attractive deals she found, like the 60 percent off some items at Michael Kors and Coach. She said the Panthers’ 4:30 p.m. game yesterday probably kept some people at home but that traffic picked up at midnight, died down by 3 a.m. and picked back up Friday around 11. “So far it’s been a good weekend. Our retailers are giving us high-fives and thumbs up, though don’t have any numbers yet,” Gray said, adding that she anticipates four busy weekends before Christmas.

Scott added that she recalls a Black Friday at Concord Mills about five years ago when customers were crammed so closely together as they tried to push through the mall that she feared for her children. “Traffic began picking up a couple of weeks ago as people began responding to early deals that our retailers offered, and this Thanksgiving/Black Friday we’re seeing terrific crowds, and expect it to pick up even more in the next 28 days,” said Sherri Chisolm-Whiteside, the mall’s marketing director. The outlet mall was starting to fill up quickly in the approximately 40 minutes I spent walking through, though it’s hard to tell it’s that crowded, since the mall is open air. She had already been to Carolina Place on Thanksgiving night with her family and was lugging out another brimming bag of sweaters, coats and other clothing bought on deep discount at Belk when I spoke with her around 10 Friday morning. “I love coming every year,” Vo said.

Melvin McMorris of Fayetteville was leaving the store at around 11 when I saw him carrying a huge Belk bag out to his car before heading back in for shopping round No. 2.

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