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UPDATED: Hopeful retailers still banking on ‘Black Friday’

Dedicated shoppers out for great deals

Posted: November 26, 2008 10:00 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2008 6:24 a.m.

Amid dire predictions of poor holiday sales, several local retailers are armed with optimism and hoping the deals they offer today on "Black Friday" will give them an edge.

While store manager Carla Scott of Sport Chalet in Stevenson Ranch knows business will be down today compared to past years, she hopes the difference won't be "too much.

"We do have extra personnel staffed for the day," Scott said. Items on special sale will be stacked in bulk throughout the store Friday to make them more accessible.

As an extra incentive, Scott said customers who spend more than $100 will receive a $25 cash card.

She hopes a table tennis table marked down $150 will have customers lined up before the store opens at 5 a.m.

The store will offer BMX bikes for $89, down from the original price of $159, and Garmin GPS units for $99, Scott said.

Just a few doors down from Sports Chalet is Old Navy, opened its doors at midnight and planned to give away a Pebble MP3 player to the first 50 customers who spend $20 or more.

"We're trying to get a jump on it and seeing how it's going to work for us," said store manager Judye Isumu, referring to the store's opening time.

Employees were scheduled to arrive as early as 10:30 p.m. Thanksgiving night to prepare for those devoted late-night holiday shoppers.

"I just think its going to be very different as far as sales because people just don't have the money," Isumu said. "But we have a lot of items and sales that we didn't have last year. So I don't think we'll see people spending as much, but then again they could because we have a lot of great deals. ... We'll have a lot of (items at) 50 percent off."

The National Retail Federation estimates more than 60 million people shopped on "Black Friday" last year.
The day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday" because it's the day that struggling retailers can turn a profit, or "go in the black," for the year. Last year the average shopper spent almost $350 over the holiday weekend.

With many chains reporting sales down significantly this fall, the annual deal-fest could be the last big chance for some retailers to save the season.


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