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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Despite the frigid temperatures, Black Friday shoppers flocked to stores and sites in search of sales.
The National Retail Federation predicted more than 16 million people will be shopping nationwide, and they’re expected to spend four percent more this holiday season over last.
Shoppers had to bundle up to battle the cold before they could brave the stores.
Randall Jones, of East New York, Brooklyn, started his shopping before sunrise.
“Early bird gets the earliest worms,” he told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis at Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst.
Carrie Kust, of Huntington, Long Island, found Steve Madden sneakers and other brand-name items for “less than half price.”
“No lines, no people running people over,” she said.
“At 2 a.m., it was actually busy. But now, a lot of people left. So it’s better for us to go shopping more,” said Mohamed Alashmali, of Astoria, Queens.
“When you think Black Friday, you think, ‘Oh, it’s something huge.’ I’m surprised, not that many people,” Kimberly Guambana, of Jackson Heights, Queens, said. “I’m going to sleep for like two hours, wake up and go again.”
“When you look at something online, it’s not the same when you try it on,” she added.
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Shoppers weren’t the only ones who were prepared.
“We pretty much have everyone working. We rotate shifts. Management – we try to do about 10 hours each, and we just take it from there,” said Jared Bryant, store manager of Super Dry.
Some people even started early on Thanksgiving – not just stuffing turkey, but shopping bags.
“We’re just looking here for deals, see what we can get for the family, stocking up for Christmas presents,” Bryan Sanchez, of Astoria, said Thursday night.
They were not wasting any time or energy.
“Red Bull, keep going,” one person said.
But some couldn’t handle the crowds.
“I saw the line, so I gave up. I’m about to go back home,” said Apinya Sriputharin, of Woodside.
Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square was also packed. June McArdle said she and her husband waited outside for more than an hour.
“Do anything for a nice bag,” she said. “We came from Ireland, so we know what we’re looking for. We’re getting a good deal when we come here.”
So What’s In The Bag?
Before noon, the Roosevelt Field park lot was already packed.
“Some of the stores are just ridiculous. Already like 50 people in line this early,” said shopper Lucy Peluso.
Lucy and her daughter arrived around 8:30 a.m. and got a lot of gifts crossed off her list.
“She’s going to a dance, so we got her a dress. We got some sweaters for people on our list. We got casual clothing,” Peluso said.
“We spent, like, $900,” shopper Katie Juncal told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas. Juncal has bags upon bags to show for it.
Inside the mall, it was “Black Fri-yay.”
Shoppers showed off the sweatshirts and shirts they purchased.
The crowds are a joyful sight to retailers on a day they depend on. Shoppers had a game plan.
“Wake up at 5:30 in the morning. Meet on the ave, and come here, drive here and shop,” said shopper Augusta Demetrius. “But she overslept. We got here at 7 o’clock.”
Anthony James was surrounded by bags as he took a much needed break.
“Very good deals,” he told Cline-Thomas while showing off the shoes he bought. “Usually these go for $200, we got them for $109.”
The lines have been long all day, Cline-Thomas reported.
“Today is the last day so you have to get on line. But like I say it’s worth it. When you get there you get what you want and get out,” said shopper Allison Harris.
The Black Friday shopping tradition in the mall is showing no signs of slowing down.
“I got my Uggs. I don’t got to order online. So I can just go home and have it in my closet,” Demetrius said. “Instead of going online, putting in address, cards, this, that, name and I could just have it in my hand right now.”
Clearly for many, going only is not more convenient.