Isle stores gear for Friday


POSTED: Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ready, set, shop!

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, officially starts tomorrow and will either make or break many local retailers this year.

Some retailers rolled out early pre-Thanksgiving sales, as well as doorbusters and ad-match programs, in hopes of bringing in customers who may be hesitant about splurging this year, while others opened their doors as early as midnight on Thanksgiving Day.

Walmart stores on Oahu will be open today, while the Disney Store at Ala Moana Center and Toys R Us at Pearlridge Center opened at midnight on Thanksgiving.

Sears will open at 4 a.m., while Macy's, Target and Kmart open at 5 a.m. tomorrow.

Shopping malls and centers are pulling out all the stops—offering prizes, giveaways and live entertainment to bring in customers.





        Stores Open Thanksgiving Day

        » Walmart Honolulu, Mililani, Pearl City and Kunia (all open 24 hours)

        » Walgreens

Midnight Thursday Openings
        » Toys R Us, Pearlridge Center
        » Disney Store, Ala Moana Center


5 a.m. Friday Openings
        » Target, Kmart, Best Buy, Macy's


Ala Moana Center
        » Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Early-bird Openings:
        » Open by midnight: Disney Store, Gymboree, Old Navy
        » Open at 4 a.m.: Barnes & Noble, Foodland, Sears
        » Open at 5 a.m.: Apple Store, The Children's Place, Macy's


Pearlridge Center
        » Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
        » Free Pearlridge Express train rides (5 to 8 a.m.)


Early-bird Openings
        » Open by midnight: Toys R Us
        » Open at 4 a.m.: Sears
        » Open at 5 a.m.: Macy's and Children's Place


Windward Mall
        » Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Doors open at Food Court entrance for the Blitz @6 event)


Kahala Mall
        » Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
        » Hawaii Opera Theatre's “;Cinderella”; performance, noon and 2 p.m.




“;I think people are looking for bargains, so retailers are responding to that,”; said retail analyst Stephany Sofos. “;It's the holiday season and people want to do good for their families, so they're going to look for the biggest bang for their buck.”;

With sales having slumped for the last 18 months, Sofos said a boost in holiday sales is critical for retailers this year, especially amid a climate of furloughs and layoffs.

The National Retail Federation estimates Black Friday weekend will bring up to 134 million shoppers across the nation this year, compared with 128 million last year, to hunt for discounts.

The International Council of Shopping Centers says Black Friday this year is actually “;Bargain Friday.”;

Consumers this year, ICSC's consumer holiday survey found, will hunt for bargains in clothing, toys and games, with a discernible shift toward gifts that can be used at home—including music, housewares and consumer electronics such as TVs and video games.

Fred Paine, general manager of Pearlridge Center, says he's feeling optimistic about this holiday season.

In September and October, the mall recorded its first sales gains in a year, he said.

Surprisingly, more shoppers were at the mall when Furlough Fridays began, perhaps because they were looking for alternative places to go. The mall also put on numerous events to draw people in.

“;Hopefully, with all fingers crossed, we're going to be able to show a gain for November and December as well,”; said Paine.

Tomorrow, Pearlridge Center is offering free rides on its Pearlridge train from 5 to 8 a.m.

Price Busters, which was busy stocking shelves earlier this week, is offering 30 percent off on all ornaments over Thanksgiving weekend. Owner Beth Tom is feeling optimistic, especially since she offers customers value.

Ala Moana Center once again will launch its “;Thanksgetting Day”; this year, with sales, prizes and a limited-edition Santa ornament with $500 in receipts.

The mall is offering free valet parking for those who print out a coupon online, and a free tall coffee from Nordstrom's eBar for 1,000 shoppers who find a “;You Win”; sticker in the Thanksgetting Day Cheat Sheet, a brochure outlining early-morning specials. The brochures will be at information kiosks and the customer service center.

The Disney Store, which opens at midnight, is offering a 20 percent discount until 10 a.m., as well as $5, $10 and $15 deals over the weekend. A holiday Mickey will be available for $5 with any $40 purchase.

Jim Fielding, president of Disney stores, says the Honolulu store is one of 125 opening at midnight across the nation.

“;I'm cautiously optimistic compared to last year,”; said Fielding. “;This year, I do feel we're better prepared with our value offerings and new offerings.”;

Other higher-priced items in the store, like a set of cars and classic Disney princess doll gift sets, will be $20 and $40 off their regular price.

Windward Mall is opening its doors for early-bird shoppers at 5:45 a.m. for its “;Blitz @ 6”; event, which offers the first 500 shoppers a free holiday coupon bag and a chance to win a $500 shopping spree.

Kahala Mall is bringing shoppers in with entertainment, including a special “;Cinderella”; performance tomorrow by the Hawaii Opera Theatre.

The best way to get up-to-the-minute updates on mall promotions is to follow Oahu's four major malls on Twitter.