Discounts, hot items lead to Black Friday sales increase

Droves of consumers flocked to stores Friday in order to take advantage of the sales offered by retailers nationwide.

Black Friday, as it is commonly referred to, gained its name because it is typically the day when retailers’ profits begin to move from the red to the black.

“We’re always busy, especially during the weekends, but we did very well,” said Deanna Harris, assistant manager for Aeropostale in Tallahassee.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp, a privately held company that gathers data from 45,000 electronic counting devices in malls and strip shopping centers nationwide, Black Friday sales increased 6 percent from last year. ShopperTrak reports show this is a substantial turnaround from last year when store sales dropped 0.9 percent.

Visa USA stated that preliminary data supported its forecast that holiday sales would increase 7.5 percent this year, compared with an 8.3 percent increase last year.

However, not all stores experienced a major influx of customers because of the highly anticipated sales day.

“We didn’t really get a lot of customers. Most of the customers that came were repeat customers,” said Bill Day, a manager and co-owner of The Shoe Box.

In an effort to take advantage of the discounted prices, eager customers crowded outside stores long before daybreak.

Retailers such as Circuit City, JCPenney and Sears opened their doors to customers at 5 a.m.

Customers hoped to take advantage of discounted products such as diamond pendants for $99.99 at JC Penney and Xbox 360’s for $399.99 at Circuit City.

“I (shop on Black Friday) every year. The stores have good sales on expensive items,” said Candace Jones, 18, a freshman biology student from Tampa.

In addition, Shatelia York, 17, a freshman business administration student from Cleveland, said she got up early and braved the large crowds with one product in mind.

“There was this really cute Tinkerbell outfit that I wanted, and it usually costs $35. But it was on sale for $14.99,” York said.

Stores offered extreme discounts in hopes of beating out their competitors for sales.

“We took 50 percent off everything. I know we did better than other stores,” Harris said.

Additionally, JCPenney advertised 35 pages of door buster deals to attract customers, and Macy’s included a $10 coupon in its advertisements.

Many stores declined to take part in discounting their prices to attract more customers.

“We didn’t have any sales or discounts because our stuff is already low,” said Amelia Jackson, a Tallahassee Ross Dress for Less sales associate. Jackson estimated that 100 customers entered the store at one time.

Some stores failed to open early because of their smaller customer bases.

“We’ve always been a service-related business that caters to specific customers because we carry larger sizes. It’s something we’ve been doing for over 35 years now,” Day said.

However, Day said his store received an influx of ladies shopping for their husbands and sons on Black Friday.

Many retailers had a hard time keeping products on the shelves because of high customer demand.

According to, computer and flat-panel TVs were among the top-selling items Friday.

Some items, such as the T.M.X. Elmo, were in such high demand that customers were unable to locate them anywhere.

In addition, Harris said the top items sold at her Aeropostale store included long sleeve shirts, hoodies, polos and jeans.

Shawn, a T-Mobile salesperson who wouldn’t give his last name because of company policy, said Sidekick 3s and Razr phones were the most “hunted to death” phones this past Friday.

He attributed the high demand for these phones to the unique features and sleek designs the phones offer.

Although Black Friday has gained popularity, not all consumers are fans of the shopping extravaganza.

“The stores only had limited things. They would have a sale, but only have 5 items in stock,” York said. But she is not against ending Black Friday altogether.

“If they did keep it going, then we would keep going. They should just overstock rather than under stock. It’s a big gimmick to get people to shop,” York said.