Reporting Bill Hudson
EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) – With a toot of a whistle, the holiday shopping train at Southdale began a 30 day-journey with Black Friday, which sent huge crowds into stores and malls hours earlier than usual.
Crowds lured by huge bargains rushed in to snap up everything from computers and big screen TVs to leather coats and game consoles.
“It’s busy,” said Aeropostle’s Southdale store manager, Callie Londo. Like many, she’s putting in long hours on a day that can make or break many retailers.
Despite the uncertain economy, retailers are optimistic for a few reasons. One, there is one more shopping day than last season; two, the weather is nice. Friday’s unusual warmth was in sharp contrast to the two weekends in 2010 that stores lost to blizzards. If the weather is severe, shoppers tend to stay home and find their deals online.
Experts predict that clothing and fine jewelry sales will be up this year. Electronics also look to be a popular present. Carole Guthy scored a door-buster deal on a new iPad 2 at Southdale.
“My husband steals my iPad all the time, so I figure I should go out and buy him one. I got it for a great price,” she said.
Steep discounts on items from electronics to clothing will keep shoppers interested. But if store inventories begin to vanish, so too will the sales. After nine hours of chasing bargains, Stacy Fuentes took a much needed break at the hands of a masseuse.
“Oh yea, it’s been a rough day,” Stacy smiled.
Yet, as much as Black Friday is a tradition for shoppers, not everyone was out to land a bargain. The Pivec family from St. Louis Park was sitting on Santa’s lap, waiting to be photographed.
“It’s family tradition to come out on Friday and get our picture with Santa,” Kelly Pivec said.
While many of the best deals were quickly gone within the first hours of Black Friday, there are still 29 shopping days left. Plenty of time to fill the stockings and the cash drawers.