Friday, October 9, 2015         

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Sunup on Black Friday

Retailers' favorite shopping day dawns earlier this holiday season

By Kristen Consillio


Black Friday is still two days away but some retailers have already started their blowout sales.

Special hours

Black Friday hours for major malls and retailers:
» Ala Moana Center,
6 a.m.
Early openings: Old Navy, Guess, Gymboree, Disney Store, Metropark, American Eagle Outfitters, midnight
Starbucks (Macy's & Sears) 3 a.m.
Napoleon's Bakery (Sears), Macy's, Aeropostale, Sears, The Children's Place, GameStop, Armani Exchange, Levi's, Oakley, 4 a.m.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, White House | Black Market, Apple, Paradise Cafe, McDonald's, Prototype, 5 a.m.
DKNY, Blue Hawaii Lifestyle, Blue Hawaii Surf, ABC Store (Makai & Centerstage), 5:30 a.m.

» Pearlridge Center,
6 a.m.
Early openings: Toys R Us, 10 p.m. Thanksgiving
Macy's, The Children's Place, Journeys, Sears, American Eagle, 4 a.m.
Bed Bath & Beyond,
Journeys Kidz and Aeropostale, 5 a.m.

» Kahala Mall, 9 a.m.
Early openings: Macy's,
4 a.m.
GameStop, 5 a.m.
Radio Shack, 5:50 a.m.
Apple, 6 a.m.
T&C Surf Designs, 7 a.m.
Banana Republic, SoHa Living, 8 a.m.

» Windward Mall, 6 a.m.
Toys R Us Express, Cinnabon, midnight
The Children's Place, Jeans Warehouse,
Journeys, 5 a.m.

» Ward Centers, 9 a.m.
Early openings: Sports Authority, Thanksgiving
9 a.m.; Black Friday
5 a.m.
Nordstrom Rack, Office Depot, 6 a.m.
Ross Dress for Less, 8 a.m.

» Waikele Center, midnight
» Kmart, 5 a.m.
» Walmart, midnight
» Target, 4 a.m.

Target Corp. is holding a four-day "beat the rush" sale that began Sunday with in-store specials on toys and electronics, among other items.

Online retailer has been touting "Black Friday deals week," adding new products throughout the week.

"Every year the promotions under the blanket of Black Friday creep a little bit further up," said Carol Pregill, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii. "All the promotions and goodies were (previously) saved until after Thanksgiving."

While the sales may be starting earlier, deep discounts on the day after Thanksgiving will still draw huge crowds. The National Retail Federation expects 138 million shoppers to hit stores on Black Friday weekend, up from 134 million last year.

Eden in Love, a small boutique at Ward Centers, expects at least 800 people on Friday, up from the 500 that waited in line for four hours last year.

"Every year it gets crazier and crazier," said owner Tanna Dang, who is using a larger upstairs conference room this year in anticipation of the crowd. The store has brought in 56 boxes of new items compared to 20 boxes a year ago, and is doubling staff to 40 people this year.

Retailers have become more aggressive in trying to increase their market share during the period as they continue to recover from a nearly two-year recession. Black Friday is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season. It got its name because sales on that day can put retailers in the black for the whole year. But if the trend toward starting the sales earlier continues, the name may be changed to Black Week.

"The rules for Black Friday have changed significantly," said Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving Day to announce their promotions, many retailers are getting shoppers excited about Black Friday by offering sneak peeks of deals in advance, using social media to create a buzz, or teasing upcoming deals on their websites."

Kaimuki resident Renee Tulonghari said she is nearly done with holiday shopping more than a month before Christmas, an unprecedented circumstance for the avid shopper who for the past seven years has joined the throngs hunting for deals on Black Friday.

"I found a lot of pre-sales ... super cheap stuff - it was just ridiculous," said Tulonghari, whose purchases included children's jackets, collared shirts and brand name dresses for a little more than $2 a piece. "I feel like they started earlier this year. Everybody's vying for customers."

Retailers are hoping the economy is strong enough to encourage shoppers to spend more this year.

Target is expecting stronger sales than in the past three years as consumers begin to spend more on discretionary items. The retailer said it is nearly doubling doorbuster sales from last year on Friday and Saturday.

"Slowly the tide is changing," said spokeswoman Sarah Bakken. "Value has been and continues to be one of biggest driving factors. People are still being very conscious and planful in how they're spending their dollar."

Similarly, Pearlridge Center expects more customers and sales than last year due to improvements in the economy.

"The improvements in the economy mean that our customers are feeling more secure with their jobs and income," said Fred Paine, Pearlridge's general manager. "There is definitely more optimism in the community this year ... so I see people wanting to splurge a little on themselves and their loved ones after being more cautious last year."

The Conference Board, a New York-based research association, said American families are expected to spend an average of $384 on Christmas gifts this holiday season, slightly less than last year's estimate of $390.

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