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SCV stores open with deals a day early for Black Friday shoppers

Days for discounts

Posted: November 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Matthew Halm, 9, decorates a Christmas tree at Westfield Valencia Town Center on Friday.

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By Luke Money

Signal Staff Writer

Santa Clarita Valley residents jumped right on the Thanksgiving night shopping opportunities as retailers enticed Black Friday shoppers into stores Thursday nationwide.

“It’s Black Thursday and Friday combined,” said Jackie Fernandez, a retail expert at the consulting firm Deloitte. “This is going to be a new normal of how we shop.”

Hundreds of local shoppers were lined up outside the Sears store at Westfield Valencia Town Center at 8 p.m. Thursday when it opened for business. For those who arrived as early as 8 a.m., there were vouchers to purchase 32-inch HDTVs at discounted prices.

Down the street, Target opened at 9 p.m. Thursday offering 50-inch HDTVs for $349. There was no shortage of takers.

It won’t be clear for a few days how many shoppers took advantage of the Thanksgiving hours. But about 17 percent of people said earlier this month that they planned to shop at stores opening on Thanksgiving, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs survey of 1,000 consumers.

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, kept most of its U.S. namesake stores open 24 hours but added special sales at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, two hours earlier than a year ago.

Anna Flores, who was at the Target on Magic Mountain Parkway early Friday, said it was the sixth or seventh store she had visited since midnight.

Previously she had shopped on Black Friday, she said, but with stores opening earlier than ever, this year’s preparations began to creep into her family time, she admitted.

“It wasn’t pretty,” she said, laughing. “That didn’t stop me, but it wasn’t pretty.”

Some shoppers expressed disappointment that some of this year’s Black Friday sales actually began Thursday.

Flores said she could remember people being outraged when the restaurant she worked at as a teenager had decided to remain open on Thanksgiving.

“We had people say, ‘How dare you be open on Thanksgiving?’ and now it’s the norm,” she said. “Everyone is just so convenience-oriented that it’s disappointing sometimes.”

Whether the tactic pays off hasn’t been calculated yet. The longer hours open could turn into extra dollars for retailers, or it could mean the same sales spread out over two days.

J.C. Penney at the Town Center mall didn’t open until 6 a.m. Friday.

Karen Mapes was one of about 80 people lined up for the opening. But it wasn’t the beginning of Mapes’ excursion; she had already been to Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s and was planning further shopping after that.

“My husband has called me four times today to ask, ‘How much have you spent?’” she said.

Mike Casteel, coffee cup firmly in hand, said he had already been shopping for several hours at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

“Hopefully I’ll get done by today,” he said while looking at merchandise at the Macy’s at Town Center.

Casteel said shopping on Black Friday was something of a tradition for his family and that he, his wife and two teenage children used a “divide and conquer” strategy to hit as many stores as possible.

Still, Casteel said, the family didn’t go bargain hunting until Friday.

“Thanksgiving is for spending time with your family,” he said. “Friday can be for shopping for your family.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

lmoney@the-signal.com

661-287-5525

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