Black Friday a shopper's delight


POSTED: Saturday, November 28, 2009

Merchants in Hawaii breathed a sigh of relief as flocks of shoppers poured through their doors yesterday morning, signaling a strong start to the holiday retail season.

This year in particular, shoppers were hunting for deals and bargains, and they were willing to wake up before sunrise—or even stake a place in line for an entire night—to get them.

The National Retail Federation projected holiday retail sales will decline 1 percent to $437.6 billion this year.

At Target Salt Lake, customers started lining up at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, according to assistant store manager Andrea Mitchel. By the time its doors opened at 5 a.m. yesterday, a line wrapped around the big-box store and all the way down the street.

Within an hour Target's supply of flat-screen TVs on sale for $270 had sold out, Mitchel said. T

he popular Zhu-Zhu mechanical pet hamsters also were sold out.

“;We can't keep it on the shelves,”; Mitchel said.

Hawaii residents also spent Thanksgiving night staking out a place in line at Toys R Us, which opened at midnight, and Best Buy, which opened at 5 a.m.

At the Disney Store at Ala Moana Center, a line formed outside the door since its midnight opening, and continued until well into the afternoon.

;[Preview]  Black Friday Continues

Black Friday Shopping Continues Through the Evening

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Disney extended its 20 percent discount from 10 a.m. to noon, according to store manager Tina Fonceca, saying that those waiting in line since the early morning would still receive the discount.

Hottest-selling items this year, Fonceca said, were the classic Disney princess dolls for $10 and a slumber set with rolling luggage, blanket and pillow for $15, which were sold out by morning. The $5, $10 and $15 deals continue through the weekend.

Momi Gallarde of Salt Lake, who stood in the Disney line, said deals were important to her this year because of a limited budget—having gone from working full time to part time.

This year she plans to buy gifts but to stay within her budget through sales.

Rhonda Timbal of Aiea sifted through store ads in the newspapers and mapped out in advance what to buy from each store.

She hit Toys R Us at midnight to shop for her nieces and nephews, then hit Sears at Pearlridge Center at 4 a.m. By midmorning she made it to Target Salt Lake to look for a sheet set that was on sale.

“;I do this every year,”; Timbal said. “;It's only once a year, so it's worth it.”;

Streams of shoppers were at Ala Moana Center, many of them toting shopping bags as they cruised from one store to another.

A crowd stood in line at the Apple Store as early as 4 a.m., an hour before it opened, to get a crack at one-day deals on iMacs, MacBook Pros and iPods. Many left with two computers in hand.

The Lego store was also popular, as was Victoria's Secret, which just opened its doors in October.

Teresa Costales and her two daughters, Nicole and Teresa, were in line for Victoria's Secret by 5 a.m. yesterday.

Costales said she was fortunate because the company she works for has not been affected by the economy, so spending this year will be about the same as last year.

They said getting up early to hit the mall was worth it, for the sales, the opportunity to buy items while they're still available and also for “;the rush.”;

Janet Felix and Isabel Guico, both of Maui, flew to Oahu early yesterday morning to spend the weekend shopping in Honolulu for the first time.

The sisters said there were more shopping options here, and after Ala Moana they were hoping to get to Target and Waikele Premium Outlets. They also hit Nordstrom Rack.

“;We're stimulating the economy,”; Felix said.