Crossroads consumers take advantage of Black Friday deals


Nov. 26, 2010 at 5:26 a.m.

Hot items from the Disney Princess set to 40-inch LCD TVs were flying off the shelves as customers at Target braved the cold, wet weather and long lines on Black Friday.

Hot items from the Disney Princess set to 40-inch LCD TVs were flying off the shelves as customers at Target braved the cold, wet weather and long lines on Black Friday.

Last-minute instructions rang through the otherwise quiet Target store Friday while, outside, early bird shoppers lined up around the building.

As the clock hit 4 a.m. and a key turned the lock, employees braced for the onslaught of customers.

The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, marks the official start to the holiday shopping season. And Crossroads retailers' deals had shoppers coming out in droves.

Melissa Angell, who arrived at Target at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, headed up the line. She was on the lookout for a 40-inch TV the store had on sale for $298, she said, and had her path through the store all planned out.

"I looked up the map online and they passed them out to us while we were here," she said. "We have a game plan."

It was a $300 laptop that had one trio - Georgia Rodriguez, Linda Rodriguez and Ruben Bera - camping out at Office Depot. The computer typically goes for about $500.

"We came out at 7:30 to see what the line looked like and just ended up sleeping in the parking lot," Georgia Rodriguez said in front of the office supply store. "They're only selling eight computers, so we decided we'd wait."

Esmeralda Villarreal arrived at Best Buy at 7 a.m. Thursday to secure her place at the front of the line. She was on the hunt for laptops, Netbooks and a Nook e-reader, all for holiday gifts.

"We'll probably spend about $1,000," the Houston resident said, explaining she and the other three in her party weathered the night in a tent. "We do this every year. It's a tradition."

Nationwide, holiday sales are expected to reach $447.1 billion this year, according to data from the National Retail Federation. That's a 2.3 percent increase from 2009.

"While Black Friday weekend is only a small piece of the very large holiday pie, holiday retail sales seem to be off to a great start," Matthew Shay, the federation's president and CEO, said in a news release.

Management at Foster Creek Station has already noticed an increase, said Joyce Teinert, the store's co-owner.

Business actually began picking up for the company earlier in the week, Teinert said, explaining that Wednesday brought in better sales than in 2009.

On Friday, the store opened at its usual 8 a.m. and had its first customer within five minutes, she said. Yellow Box shoes were among the big sellers, as well as a rack of clothing marked 75 percent off.

"We've had a steady stream," Teinert said. "And people are actually buying, not just looking. I just hope everybody goes out and puts the bad economy behind them and supports Victoria-area businesses."

The line outside H-E-B Plus spanned to more than 700 people before the store opened at 4 a.m., said Joe Farias, general merchandise leader.

People were mainly after Playstation PS3 consoles and large TVs, but items such as Crock Pots and Pillow Pets also sold well.

Management wasn't sure how Black Friday would fare, mainly because the store opened an hour earlier than last year, Farias said.

"But it was a good crowd," he said, adding it took six minutes for the entire line to make its way inside. "One of the best we've had in years. We are extremely happy."

Carolyn Asher and her twin sister, Tina Hicks, weren't part of the store's initial crowd, but got there about 5:30 a.m. H-E-B's $20 microwave deal was what drew them to the store.

Asher said she enjoys the sales, but doesn't stand outside stores to take advantage of them. Bargains just aren't worth it, she said, explaining some people become overly competitive to save a buck.

"It's not worth fighting over," she said. "If the thing you're looking for isn't there, it isn't there."



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