November 24, 2017 08:37 PM
The Mall of America in Minnesota says that 2,500 people were in line at the 5 a.m. opening Friday, in line with a year ago. Shoppers started queuing up as early as 5:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
"We have been preparing for this day since last year," said Jasper. "This weekend you can expect lots of fun, entertainment and freebies."
Evangeline Froelich and her family sat on lawn chairs, dressed in layers and patiently waited for the north entrance doors at Mall of America to open to snag a few Black Friday deals.
"We have been out here since 6 p.m. yesterday," said Froelich. "This is our second year and it's really fun."
Adriana Williams and her family camped our overnight too. Children slept in sleeping bags, as the adults sat on lawn chairs sipping on coffee.
"This is bonding time for our family," said Williams. "Last year one of the little ones won a $500 gift card."
Jill Renslow, Mall of America's executive vice president of business development, said that stores like Nordstrom, Macy's and Best Buy were crowded. She said the items that caught shoppers' attention included were voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo, nostalgic toys, clothing and shoes.
Like other shopping centers, the mall has been fighting online buying by integrating technology with the shopping experience. Shoppers can now reserve a premium parking space on an app before heading to the mall. Renslow says more than 60 of the 500-plus stores now allow shoppers to order online and pick up the goods at the mall. That's a big increase from a year ago.
Even on Black Friday, retailers are already looking ahead to Cyber Monday.
Target says everything on its site will be 15 percent off on Monday, and it will offer discounts throughout the week on specific categories, such as 40 percent off towels and bedding on Tuesday. Amazon's deals on its gadgets were similar to its Black Friday ones, such as 40 percent off its voice-activated Echo Dot. But it added other deals, such as 30 percent off Lego sets and 50 percent off certain Hasbro toys, such as Nerf and Play-doh.
Walmart, meanwhile, says it has tripled the assortment and deals it had last year. Among its deals: 40 percent off a voice-activated Google Home Mini, $100 off the Barbie Hello Dreamhouse and $90 off the Xbox One S video console.
Shoppers are expected to spend $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday, up 16 percent from last year, according to Adobe Analytics.
The Associated Press and Cleo Greene
Updated: November 24, 2017 08:37 PM
Created: November 24, 2017 09:04 AM
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