Shop Till You Drop?

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The day after Thanksgiving, a shopper's dream, a retailer's benefit and perhaps a husband's worst nightmare.

"My wife dragedg me out of bed and brought me here this morning," said one such man Newscenter 11 encountered Friday morning.

Stores opened as early as 5:00 a.m., boasting big sales that resulted in long lines and early shoppers.

Darlene Guy arrived at Bonita Lakes Mall about 6:10 a.m.

"I drove an hour and half to get here," Guy said. "But that's what you have to do if you want to get the sales."

"Today we are seeing what we hoped would be a beginning to a great shopping day," said Tommy White of Bonita Lakes Mall. "It has ended up being everything we expected it to be and more."

But this huge shopping day is about more than sales. It's a huge economic indicator. Experts worry shoppers won't see as many sales this year due to the economic upswing, but officials at Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian disagree.

"In fact, I see the opposite. I have seen a lot of our merchants with door buster sales and things this morning, more than in the past," said White.
"K and B Toys, for instance, had huge door buster sales today."

And the list goes on, but today is also an economic indicator of what's ahead. The National Retail Federation, the industry's largest trade group, expects sales for November and December of this year to grow 5.7 % to $217 billion nationwide, the largest increase since 1997.

"For the most part, Black Friday is a good indicator of what things are going to be like for the rest of the holiday season."

Black Friday, so named in the hopes of bringing merchants from the financial "red zone" to the safe "black zone", remains a shopping frenzy. It's a holiday tradition that leaves retailers, and often, customers exhausted.