Shoppers lined up in the wee hours of the morning at Macy's, Best Buy and other stores in the tri-state on Black Friday to get discounts of up to 70 percent on everything from toys to tablets.
Some stores had hundreds of shoppers rushing in when they opened their doors at midnight — several hours earlier than they normally do on the most anticipated shopping day of the year. A few that opened on Thanksgiving Day were even filled with big crowds.
Parking lots were full at malls from Paramus to Garden City, and retailers said they hope to see a 10 percent jump in sales on this official start of the holiday shopping season. For three days starting on Black Friday, 152 million people are expected shop, up about 10 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. That's good news for retailers, many of which depend on the busy holiday shopping season for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.
"It's the literal, physical and emotional start to a very big period for us," said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy's president.
About 600 shoppers were in line at a Target store in Brooklyn when it opened at midnight. And more than 9,000 people were outside the flagship Macy's store in New York's Herald Square at its midnight opening.
"I came here for the deals," said Sidiki Traore, 59, from Roosevelt Island, N.Y. who bought three shirts for $50 at the Macy's. He also went to Toys R Us for its 9 p.m. opening on Thanksgiving and bought three toys for $106 for his 4-year-old son.
Black Friday shoppers say they were lured by the deals.
The Gap, for instance, is offering discounts of 20% to 60% on many items. Old Navy has pea coats for $29 and jeans for $15. Toys R Us is selling a Transformers Ultimate Optimus Prime action figure for $30 off at $47.99 and a Power Wheels Barbie vehicle for $120 off at $199.99. And Best Buy has a $400 Asus Transformer 10-inch tablet computer for $249.99.
Nadia Mitchell, 33, a school teacher from Brooklyn, stood in line at Target for four hours watching Netflix comedies on her smartphone to pass the time ahead of the store's midnight opening. She was looking for deals on cameras, a vacuum, an ice maker and a new TV for her bedroom.
"It's the cheapest time to buy stuff," she says. She goes to buy electronics and appliances.
After showing up at Best Buy in New York on Wednesday at 3 p.m., Emmanuel Merced, 27, and his brother were the first in line when it opened. On their list was a Sharp 42-inch TV for $199, a PlayStation 3 console with games for $199.99 and wireless headphones for $30. Merced says he likes camping out for Black Friday and he figures he saved 50 percent.
"I like the experience of it," says Merced, who plans to spend $3,000 to $4,000 on gifts this season.