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Stores hike discounts for holiday season

November 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Retailers are anxiously watching to see how this year's holiday shopping season shapes up. Hoards of bargain hunters traditionally jam stores on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Just about everywhere you look, you'll find something discounted as retailers compete for the shrinking consumer discretionary budget.

"I've seen really good sales, amazing sales actually," described Valerie Lewis of Redlands.

While the Veterans Day holiday draws the crowds, store managers are hoping the early discounts get some of the shoppers to buy the holiday gifts on their list.

"We have all blankets at 50 percent off, we have all auto-ware at 50 percent off, all jewelry 60 percent off," said Dean Cary, manager at J.C. Penney.

And because stores' inventory is lean in the wake of the economic downturn, some say it may be wise to buy what you want before it's gone.

"It happens to be Veterans Day, and I remembered when we drove in that hey, there should be some sales because it's Veterans Day. So we kind of got lucky," said Christina Sanchez of Burbank.

For years, retailers had seen a spike in sales on Veterans Day, but the big kahuna of holiday shopping is still Black Friday.

Last year, an early stampede of shoppers at Wal-Mart trampled a security guard in Long Island. To avoid a repeat, some Wal-Mart stores will open for 24 hours starting on Thanksgiving Day. At the Glendale Galleria, retailers are expanding shopping hours as well.

"This year, we see more retailers planning to open at midnight than we have ever before. Starting with the Disney Store at midnight, Aeropostale, Victoria's Secret and the Gap is opening at midnight, all with some really good deals for their customers," said Galleria spokesperson Janet Lafevre. "This is really for the diehard shoppers who are very prepared, very conscious of sales, and they take extreme advantage of all the opportunities retailers are putting out on Thanksgiving Day."

For the second year in a row, J.C. Penney will open its doors at 4 a.m. with big door-buster deals. They say last year, they had about a thousand shoppers waiting outside to get in the doors. With so many stores opening at midnight this year, the J.C. Penney store manager says he wouldn't be surprised if next year they open their doors a little earlier.


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