Opening their doors earlier than ever for Black Friday paid off for retailers as shoppers mobbed malls thick with sales across the Southland, snapping up electronics, toys and other deals.LAist has more on that, "Local Walmart Workers Stage Black Friday Walkout [VIDEO]."
Hundreds of bargain hunters surged toward the Glendale Galleria before midnight, some banging on one entrance and shouting to be let in. At the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, shoppers rushing into Urban Outfitters shattered a glass door. Mall traffic was a nightmare throughout Southern California.
Despite the chaos, early signs point to a blockbuster shopping day for merchants — with stores raking in even more than the record $11.4 billion for Black Friday they reported last year. More comprehensive numbers are expected Sunday.
"Overall it was a smash hit," said Britt Beemer, a retail expert at America's Research Group who has been tracking holiday sales nationally for more than three decades. "In all the years I have been out, I have never seen such crowds in my life."
Target, Sears and the Disney Store reported a surge in customers. Wal-Mart said it was the retail behemoth's best Black Friday sale ever. Mall operators saw long lines, and shoppers scooped up even some full-price items as well as bargains in stores and online.
The shopping frenzy cheered merchants and Wall Street, which enjoyed a big boost Friday.
There was no violence reported in Southern California, where last year at least 10 people were injured when a shopper used pepper spray to ward off rivals at a Porter Ranch Wal-Mart.
But protests erupted over working conditions at dozens of Wal-Marts nationwide, including one that led to the arrest of nine people blocking a street in Paramount. And two people were shot in what police said was a scuffle over a parking spot at a Wal-Mart in Tallahassee, Fla.
Brisk Sales Point to Breakout Holiday Shopping Season
At LAT, "Shopping season off to strong start":