HILO — Sale signs floated throughout the Zumiez skate-surf store in Hilo mid-morning Friday, but the store’s hottest Black Friday items were a bit unsuspecting: Skate gear, watches, jewelry and flashy reflective jackets, many marked at full price.
“Right now, a lot of the (popular items) are things like full-priced Adidas, brand new stuff and things kids are really wanting,” said store manager Leah Sakamoto as shoppers milled in and out of the store, Christmas music blasting from the lobby nearby. “It’s girlfriends buying watches for their boyfriends, parents buying skateboards for their kids, those are some of the major ones.”
Zumiez, along with many other retailers in the Prince Kuhio Plaza, opened late Thanksgiving night, closed overnight, and re-opened early Black Friday to accommodate the flood of holiday bargain shoppers hitting the mall and nearby big-box stores this weekend in search of deals.
The National Retail Federation said 69 percent of Americans, or 164 million people, planned or had considered shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend. The majority — 70 percent — planned to shop Black Friday. About 43 percent planned to shop today for Small Business Saturday and 48 percent on Cyber Monday.
Holiday shopping locally also was predicted to increase: Prince Kuhio Plaza General Manager Daniel Kea said earlier this week sales overall have trended upward for the year.
But just after 10 a.m. Friday, the mall wasn’t too packed — Sakamoto said many seemed to have opted to snag sales the night prior or to buy items online instead. Zumiez for example, is offering free shipping this weekend.
Sakamoto said many East Hawaii shoppers also seem to prefer shopping later in the afternoon, foregoing early morning door-buster deals for a more relaxed mall day with loved ones.
“I think everyone has their strategies,” Sakamoto said. “And I think some people make it more of a tradition rather than an actual looking for deals (experience). They want to meet up with friends and family and spend time with each other rather than strictly just shopping for deals.”
High schoolers L’Rae Robertson, 16, and Keani Olmos, 17, took a break near a meet-and-greet display with Santa, where samples of eggnog were being served nearby. The duo said they came to window shop but found a few sale items along the way, including discounted T-shirts.
“The mall isn’t as crazy as we thought,” Robertson said. “Target was a lot crazier.”
Close to 11 a.m., lines to check out at Macy’s, however, extended at least a dozen people deep. Many people clutched household appliances priced as low as $8 after a rebate. Others, including Keaau residents Rene Mattos and mother Judy Texiera, shuffled along with luggage marked at 60 percent off.
Mattos and Texiera said they’d devised a “divide and conquer strategy” — Texiera stood in line while Mattos collected the goods. They moved along with the luggage, a skillet, pillows and other things.
The family had been shopping since 7 a.m., first hitting Walmart and Target. They said their car was filling up and Macy’s was only the first stop in the mall.
“My poor husband is with us too,” Texiera said with a laugh. “He’s standing in line with me. So that’s how we’re doing it.”
“But we totally enjoy it,” Mattos added. “(Standing in line) is more time than money, that’s what it is. But (shopping) is a lot of fun.”
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