Holiday shopping blitz

first_img Some 130 million people will go shopping this weekend alone, but only the most hard-core were at the Camarillo Premium Outlets mall when stores opened just after midnight Thursday. “It’s the first time we’ve tried it,” said Brian Hassett, the general manager of the mall where 39 of the 120 stores were open for 24 straight hours. “The midnight madness took us all by surprise. It’s a festival atmosphere.” Karen Yonemoto of Monterey Park arrived with three friends at midnight stayed through the morning filling the car with bags of gifts. “I went in to the Coach (leather goods) store to buy two wallets and wound up getting 13 purses, all gifts,” she said around 9 a.m., still shopping. Annie Stefanec, 15, of Tarzana said she had been waiting in the Coach line 45 minutes and hoped the store wouldn’t run out. “It’s pretty crazy right now. If I can’t find what I want, I’ll just add it to my list and maybe get it later this year.” Her mother, Mary, said they left Tarzana at 7 a.m. thinking they were early, but found the parking lots full at the outlet mall and had to park about a half-mile away. Thousands more gathered Friday at the Simi Valley Town Center for its first Black Friday – the day when most retailers turn from “red” losses to “black” profits – since opening Oct. 27. “We’re really pleased,” said Vickie Sherman, the Town Center’s director of marketing. “We won’t know for certain how well we are doing until we have certified sales reports in about four to six weeks, but there are lots of shoppers here with lots of shopping bags.” Across the region, sales were brisk and crowds were thick, but no problems were reported. Near Grand Rapids, Mich., however, a woman fell as dozens of people rushed into a store for the 5 a.m. opening. Several stepped on her, and a few became entangled as a man pushed them to the ground to keep them away. When the rush ended, the woman and a 13-year-old girl had suffered minor injuries. And at a Wal-Mart store in Orlando, Fla., tempers flared when a man allegedly cut in line to buy a bargain notebook computer and was wrestled to the ground, according to a video shown by television station. At the Glendale Galleria, moms lugged still-sleepy children while dads fidgeted in line. A tough looking man with slicked back hair and a menacing look in his eye bought toys, wearing his greasy work jacket over flannel pajamas. Turnout appeared mixed in an early morning survey of shopping spots across the region. The Galleria was starting to fill up by 6 a.m., as were the Northridge Fashion Center and Westfield Shoppingtown Topanga in later hours. But even while those locations were bustling, Westfield Fashion Square could barely muster a crowd, a Van Nuys Target seemed downright orderly and a Sherman Way Toys ‘R’ Us had plenty of parking spaces left at 11 a.m. At 5 a.m., James Cann was queueing up outside the Panorama City Wal-Mart, preparing to buy a cart full of toys for the kids. The Sun Valley resident emerged ebullient, surprised he’d emerged without incident as the sun rose behind him. “There was a line around the store when I got here,” he said. “You want a deal, you’ve gotta make a sacrifice. You’re going to buy the things anyway, so I figured I might as well save some bucks at the sale.” Wal-Mart, stung last year by its decision not to offer its popular door-buster sales on the day after Thanksgiving, trotted out plenty of discounts to lure in shoppers. Harrison Ford fans could buy “Blade Runner” DVDs for $3.44, then watch them on 20-inch flat-screen Toshiba televisions for $497. The highly sought-after $378 HP Pavilion laptop computers sold out long before 7 a.m. Smart buyers planned ahead, mapping routes and enlisting accomplices. Enrique Salazar left San Fernando to hit Circuit City at 5 a.m., making his way then to Sears and a Northridge Sportmart in a four-hour span. Glossy advertisements filled the cab of his huge Chevy pickup, which was quickly overloaded with presents. By 6:15 a.m., Randy Maxwell was leaving a Target store in Valencia with a bag of gifts and was heading to Sears and Kohl’s for some more. He’d already been to Best Buy and Wal-Mart. The Black Friday sales are unbeatable, said the Valencia man who woke up at 4 a.m. to get in line outside one store. When the day finally ended, a chunk of his shopping would be completed. “It saves a lot of money doing it this way,” he said. “And you get done with everything.” Brent Hopkins, (818) 713-3738 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Annie Weathers shook off sleep at 1 a.m., slipped into a pair of jeans and crept from her Hollywood home. Fortified with coffee and accompanied by her sister Amy Lam, Weathers had a thousand bucks and a mission. By 6 p.m., the two planned to have knocked out the majority of their holiday shopping, a tradition they’ve followed for the past five years. “We got to Best Buy at 2 a.m., and it was already too late,” said Weathers, a nurse by trade. In Santa Clarita, the members of the Colley family weren’t caught off guard. They set up cots to sleep by the electronic store’s entrance, waiting to get first dibs on everything when the doors opened in the pre-dawn hours of Friday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals This was the second year that the Colleys and some friends had camped out in front of the Bouquet Canyon Road store on Thanksgiving Day. With four empty cars – including a 15-passenger van – parked in the lot and ready to haul their purchases away, the Canyon Country family members were prepared for a morning of serious holiday shopping. By 7 a.m. Friday, they had spent about $10,000 inside the store, filling up five shopping carts with a 42-inch plasma TV, four desktop computers, four laptops and more. And so shoppers plunged into the wild world of Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to the holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend some $400 billion this holiday season, more than was projected in early fall when the country was still hesitant to spend because of high gas prices and the stunning photos from the Gulf Coast. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. revised its estimate of retailers’ increased revenues from 6 percent to somewhere between 8 percent and 9 percent. last_img read more