Early Black Friday Deals Pack Local Malls

Woodfield Mall opened almost all of its 300 stores at midnight for the first time in its history

By Michelle Relerford and Lauren Petty
|  Friday, Nov 23, 2012  |  Updated 2:06 PM CDT
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A crush of shoppers pushed their way into Woodfield Mall at midnight on Black Friday. It was one of several hectic scenes across the area.

A crush of shoppers pushed their way into Woodfield Mall at midnight on Black Friday. It was one of several hectic scenes across the area.

Thousands of Chicago area deal-seekers went straight from their Thanksgiving meals to nearby malls for Black Friday sales. At Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, a crush of pushing, cheering shoppers squeezed through the doors for sales of up to 60 percent off.

"When we first got here in was pretty hectic," said Alex Morrow. "There were people everywhere. You couldn't even walk through stores, you had to wait outside the stores."

"That's my favorite moment of the year," said Lisa Stricker, marketing director at Woodfield. "We get people cheering, they're so excited to come in. You open the door, we hand out Santa hats, and it's the official start of the holiday season."

It was the first time in the mall's nearly 40-year history that almost all of its 300 stores opened at midnight. Sears opened even earlier at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

"This is our first time opening the entire mall at midnight," Stricker said. "We had a great turnout, and it looks like it's going to be a great day."

Stricker said a lot of the stores aren't just having door-buster deals but also sales throughout the day.

On a Michigan Avenue in Chicago a sea of shoppers crowded the Mag Mile as many stores opened at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. When the doors opened at 8 a.m. at the Apple Store, the line wrapped around the flagship store.

People bundled up against the plummeting temperatures to snag deals from 40 percent to 60 percent off at nearly every shop.

"It's a little brisk out here," one shopper said, "but we did get some good door-busters and it's been fun."

Water Tower Place opened at about midnight with about 20 stores ready for business. The majority opened at 6 a.m.

"We had very strong traffic at midnight," said Water Tower Place marketing manager Katie Lindsay. "We were absolutely delighted to see our shoppers out ready to come in."

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