Record Black Friday sales across the nation

Shelly Opsal puts away her Black Friday purchases at the Morgan

In a kickoff to the holiday season, the nation saw it’s biggest
ever Black Friday with a record number $52.4 billion spent this
weekend shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.
In a kickoff to the holiday season, the nation saw it’s biggest ever Black Friday with a record number $52.4 billion spent this weekend shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.

But it didn’t come easy. About 20 shoppers at a Los Angeles Walmart were pepper-sprayed by a woman who became agitated in a crowd pressing for Xboxes on sale. Other acts of shopping drama were reported at stores from South Carolina to Arizona.

Locally, Black Friday was relatively calm. Although retailers opened their doors earlier than normal, the crowds by 8 a.m. Friday were casually browsing the special sales, the excitement died down much like any other shopping day of the year.   

Yet across the nation, things were just starting to heat up. By Sunday, an estimated 226 million shoppers nationwide visited stores to get an early start on their holiday shopping.

Morgan Hill Target store manager Olivia, who declined to give her last name, said Friday midnight madness shoppers who waited in line for the store to open was estimated at about 400 to 500 people this year. She believed that to be an increase from last year.

“We have had great guests,” Olivia said. “We were really very excited to be open at midnight for the first time this year.”

Throughout the store, bins labeled “2-day sale” held special deals such as $10 pajamas or DVD’s for $5.99.

Shelley Opsal of San Jose, traveled to the Morgan Hill Target because she didn’t want to deal with large crowds of people at malls in San Jose.

“There’s no lines here, everything’s quiet. I love coming to Morgan Hill, it’s a great destination to come to,” Opsal said.

Sisters Sonya Borchers and Wendy Aven both of Morgan Hill, had lists in hand, crossing off items as they shopped through Target Friday morning. They began their day at 6:30 a.m. at Wal-Mart.

“You have to be organized. You know, we’re not going to be out there at midnight and line up with our tents. We’re not crazy,” Borchers said. “You come in and you get what you get, and if not, it’s not meant to be. It has to be fun, if it’s not fun, then why are you doing it?”

The two sisters even cut into some Thanksgiving time the day before by going to Michael’s, an arts and craft store in Gilroy that they said was open from 4 to 10 p.m.

Vicki Herrick, of Morgan Hill, shopped early at Target, but made a point not to attend the midnight madness.

“I signed a petition online against (the midnight opening),” she said. “For the employees and everything, everyone should be enjoying their Thanksgiving holiday.”

Herrick was shopping for typical household needs that were on sale because the economic downturn in recent years has made her budget tight.

“We have a child with special needs, so we’re on one income this year, have been for a couple of years now. We’ve definitely got hit by the economy. That’s why we’re shopping for typical household needs this time of year,” she said.

Also opening early for the first time even before Black Friday officially began was at was Wal-Mart in Cochrane Plaza at 10 p.m.

Larry and Beverley Meyer of Morgan Hill, usually attend the 5 a.m. rush for electronics, but this year, they decided to skip out.

“We’d rather pay a little more than get up early and fight people,” Larry said of the crowds in the early morning rush.

The couple was looking at a 46-inch Sony LCD TV, which was on a 2-day sale for $678 at Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, by nearly 9 a.m. the store, had sold out.

Even small businesses saw more customers out shopping. For the second annual Small Business Day Saturday, Morgan Hillians took to their local shops this past weekend to support business.

Cinda Meister, co-owner of BookSmart on E. Second Street said they saw a definite increase in customers this weekend.

“A lot more people were aware it was Small Business Saturday this year,” she said. It was a wonderful. It was a December day in November.”

Organized by American Express with an incentive for cardholders who registered their credit cards to receive a $25 credit when they spend $50 or more at a local small business, Meister said not many of the purchases made used American Express.

“Probably only a quarter of business was done with American Express,” said Meister. “It resonated with the general population, to support small business.”

Tryst Fashion and Apparel on 17380 Monterey Road in downtown Morgan Hill also saw more foot traffic and increased sales on Small Business Saturday.

“It was really busy. We had one customer come in that said ‘Help me find something, it’s for Small Business Saturday,’” said store employee Juliana Gardillas. The store had a special 20 percent off all merchandise as well as other deals.

IBM coremetrics data revealed that U.S. shoppers drove up online retail sales this year with a 39.3 percent increase on Thanksgiving Day and a 24.3 percent increase on Black Friday itself compared to last year.

More shoppers are also turned to their cell phones, using them as research tools for in store and online deals. Mobile traffic increased to 14.3 percent on Black Friday this year compared to last year numbers.

The National Retail Federation estimates shoppers will spend $465.6 billion in holiday retail shopping this year, an increase of 2.8 percent compared to last year.

$465.6 billion: estimated amount shoppers will spend thisholiday season
226 million: shoppers
$52.4 billion: spent last weekend
$678: price of a 46-inch Sony LCD TV at Wal-Mart
20: number of shoppers pepper-sprayed at Wal-Mart in LosAngeles

Leave your comments