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Shoppers Swamp Stores Seeking Savings

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Brandsmart Shoppers On Black Friday 2011

Shoppers flooded local Brandsmart stores that opened late Thursday night with early Black Friday deals. (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The annual onslaught of shoppers searching for the best possible deal started in earnest Thursday night, but as midnight passed and Black Friday was officially upon South Florida; the real shopping madness was fully underway.

Some people had lined up as early as last week in front of local Best Buy’s in hopes of landing a big screen television or other doorbuster deals.

Shopper Jeff White decided the deals at Target were so good; he spent the day in front of the store instead of at home.

“I got off my shift at 7:30 in the morning, went home, changed, and came back,”said shopper Jeff White. “I’ve been here since 9 in the morning. I’m here for one of the 46” TV’s. It’s a $250 savings, you can’t beat it. It’s gotten hectic out here, so I’m glad I got here early.”

And those lines outside stores lasted more than 24 hours after stores opened.  On y Del Toro joined people who stood in line throughout the day at the Coach store as Sawgrass Mills.  “Why would you wait in line to go shopping,” asked CBS 4’s Ted Scouten.  “You’re talking to women here,” responded Del Toro. “We wait in line where there’s a sale if there’s $5 off.  Can you imagine 80%.”

The term Black Friday refers to the fact that many retailers finally get into the black for the year with the after-Thanksgiving sales. Last year, Black Friday sales totaled more than $600 million in online sales alone.

The National Retail Federation estimates that the total number of shoppers on Black Friday 2011 will be up roughly 10 percent from last year.  At Sawgrass Mills a few store managers reported sales were down or flat, compared to last year.  But the general manager reports that the majority of store are noticing increases of up to 30% from 2010.

Roughly 152 million shoppers are planning on hitting the stores Friday.

The shopping spree even brought in Glenda Fernandez. She flew from Costa Rica to Miami just to shop on Black Friday.

Fernandez started shopping at 1 a.m. Friday and plans to hit three more malls before the day ends.

“It’s been crazy,” said Fernandez.  ”I haven’t slept at all.”

Dee Ruparelia and a group of friends are here from London shopping.  After a day of hitting the stores, they rested outside Sawgrass Mills, surrounded by more than 20 shopping bags.  We’ve only dedicated a day for this,” said Ruparelia.  I wish we had longer.  I really do! I wish there were more hours in the day!”

But as shoppers Irene Jhankoa and Angelique Ramkessoon from Holland found out, getting all those bargains can be exhausting.  “My feet are hurting,” one said.  “Ya, my back is hurting and I’m hungry,” said the other.  But both smiled, ready for more bargain hunting.

Overall, the National Retail Federation said sales should rise 2.8 percent to $456.6 billion.

Locally, stores like Brandsmart decided to open its doors Thursday night to try and get ahead of the mad rush of shoppers.

As soon as the doors opened, shoppers flooded the stores trying to buy the most popular item the last several years, electronics.

“Another Black Friday and things are going really well,” said Vincent Cipollone who manages Brandsmart in Miami.

For more Black Friday deals, click here.

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