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Shoppers swarm to sales

A sea of humanity surges though the aisles and checkout lines at Wal-Mart Thursday night, a view similar at other stores on Black Friday.

Sun Advocate reporter

A tsunami of shoppers surged through the doors of area stores at the start of Black Friday sales. At Wal-Mart, the shopping began on Black Friday Eve, also known as the evening of Thanksgiving.

According to several local enterprises that work to make Black Friday as profitable and pleasant as possible, 2012 was a success. Through a sea of separate sales starting at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight, local Wal-Mart officials indicated that their numbers ran very close to last year's take.

Additionally, no one was injured in the rush.

While some took issue with Black Friday starting on Thursday, the turnout was substantial as patrons waited through long lines of humanity for sale prices.

Those in charge at Sutherlands took the old school approach to Black Friday mania, starting their annual sale at 4 a.m. Friday morning.

"Our sale turned out very well," said store manager Wayne Clausing. "We had a huge crowd outside the doors at 4 a.m. I love to see people out there that early ready to shop local. We always have a great time during this sale."

According to Clausing, several factors, including early sales at other venues, could have helped with this year's big numbers.

"In about 1997 I saw things start to change around the shopping event," he said. "Sales used to start at 9 a.m. but they kept getting earlier until our doors began cracking at 4 a.m. "We have always had great success with our early sale and to me, part of what makes the sale special is the event type atmosphere that surrounds Black Friday."

Nationally, the shopping weekend was a massive success, as a 13 percent national increase was reported by ABC News concerning sales from Thursday through Sunday. As Black Friday has become the unofficial start to the Christmas Shopping season it is now used as a barometer for fourth quarter sales.

Locally, post-election concerns centered on the energy industry could have caused a downturn in Castle Country shopping. However, every shop owner interviewed by the Sun Advocate witnessed positive trends following Thanksgiving.

Moving through the weekend to Cyber-Monday, e-commerce (which also had a strong weekend) should continue the trend upward.

Early estimates show that Monday could reach as high as $2 billion in total sales with an ever growing potion of funds coming from mobile devices. With more and more i-devices and Android upgrades poised to blow out the Christmas season, the cyber event, which has become a week-long affair, could also see record numbers

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