Less Stress—and More Bags—This Black Friday
At the Target on Elston Avenue on Chicago's Northwest side — known as one of the highest-volume stores in the chain — the $25 Dirt Devil vacuum that normally goes for $39.99 was sold out, though there were still several large televisions available.
At 2 a.m. Central Time, Mall of America was poised to beat the record number of shoppers — 217,000 — that came on the same day last year, according to mall spokesman Dan Jasper.
The day is also a test for retailers shifting strategies, like J.C. Penney, which has been suffering from plunging sales as it moves away from coupons toward lower pricing and specialized boutiques within stores.
Amina Kebbeh, 18, of the Bronx, New York, was on line for the 6 a.m. Eastern Time opening of Penney's Manhattan store. Others stood with her, though the line was relatively tame.
"If they remove the coupons, no one is eager to come," she said.
Some shoppers also faulted the chain's decision not to open in the wee hours, like Christian Alcantara, 18, who visited the store in the Elmhurst section of Queens, New York, and suggested it cost the retailer money.
"They should open earlier. I've been everywhere else and I've already shopped," he said.
-CNBC.com contributed to this report.