LIVERMORE (CBS SF/AP) — The massive parking lot at the outlet mall Livermore was overwhelmed by midnight. Thousands flock to outlets ranging from popular brands like Kate Spade and Nike, searching for gems among the discounted goods.
And no one seemed to care that outside, Mother Nature was hammering the Bay Area with rainshowers.
Devin arrived at the mall at 1 a.m. and had been shopping nonstop for more than six hours.
“I’m feeling good,” he said as he stood in a long line waiting to get into the Nike store. “I work the night shift so this isn’t too bad, but it’s been crazy.”
“I’ve saved about $400,” he added pointing to the shopping bags at his side.
Down the mall outside the Kate Spade store, the line was more than a block long. With discounts of up to 70 percent off, the shoppers were weary but willing to wait.
“I’m feeling tired,” one of the shoppers, who arrived at the mall at 12:30 a.m., told KPIX 5. “But it’s like 70 percent off — I’m going to save so much money.”
Across the Bay Area, the story was much the same. At the Target store in Colma, shoppers jammed the aisles while others waited outside in the stormy weather for a chance to get inside.
“I got my son some nice $200 earphones for 89 bucks,” said Phyllis Pettus. “I just ate and ran, I had dinner and I said I’m going shopping now.”
Ashneel Pratap told KPIX 5 he skipped Thanksgiving dinner to get in line early.
“Because of how cheap things are and how good the deals are, I’d rather come out here instead of eat turkey,” he said.
Around the country, the story was repeated hundreds of thousands of times. It seemed Americans just couldn’t pass up the bargains.
Black Friday is expected to be the biggest shopping day of the year, according to ShopperTrak, a technology company. And analysts say Black Friday sales should be even bigger than a year ago.
They are expected to hit $23 billion on Friday, up from $21 billion during the same year-ago period, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks all forms of payment, including cash.
With the jobless rate at a five-decade low of 3.7 percent and consumer confidence at an 18-year high, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December. The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, is expecting holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to increase as much as 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $720.89 billion. The sales growth marks a slowdown from last year’s 5.3 percent, which was the largest gain since 2010. But the figure is still healthy.
Adobe Analytics, which analyzes visits to retail websites, predicts a 15 percent increase in online sales to $124.1 billion for November and December.
Adobe said late Thursday that Thanksgiving should reach a record $3.7 billion in online retail sales, up 29 percent from the same year ago period. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, shoppers spent $1.75 billion online, a nearly 29 percent increase from a year ago. It expects $38.0 billion will have been spent online between Nov. 1 through Thursday, a nearly 19 percent increase from a year ago.
Target said early Friday morning that more shoppers shopped using the Target app, ordering more than double compared to last year. Overall, shoppers bought such big ticket items as TVs, iPads, and Apple Watches. Among the most popular toy deals were Lego, L.O.L. Surprise from MGA Entertainment and Mattel’s Barbie. It said gamers picked up video game consoles like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.