Bargain seekers pack stores

  • Sheila Kinzer shops for Black Friday deals with her daughter Cheyenne at Bath and Body Works in Kona Commons. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Black Friday sales are brisk at Bath and Body Works in Kona Commons. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A line forms as shoppers wait to get Black Friday electronic deals at the Kona Target. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Black Friday sales are brisk at the Kona Target. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Kona Target Store Director Mike Gustafson helps load a customer's Black Friday purchase. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Oriana Brown, left, Kahiau Perreira and Laukoa Fruean shop for Black Friday deals at the Kona Target. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Stores in Kona were packed with bargain seekers Friday as holiday shopping got into full swing.

Black Friday sales began Thursday at many retailers — however, it appeared this year that some shoppers decided to forego the Thanksgiving frenzy, spend time with family and hit the stores on Friday.

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“It’s crazier today than yesterday,” said Kona Target store director Mike Gustafson.

Gustafson said although the store was busy Thanksgiving night, online orders topped 1,000. Rather than standing in line to get a deal, shoppers could place their order online and pick up at the store, avoiding long lines at the register.

Gustafson said instead of the limited quantities of door-busters customers have been used to, this year the store had enough inventory to stock the two-day sale.

“Toys, electronics, Apple products, appliances and ping-pong tables are the most popular items this year,” he said.

Oriana Brown was shopping with Laukoa Fruean and Kahiau Perriera. They came to the store specifically for a dinosaur toy, but their cart was filling with other deals.

“We’re just walking around and when we see something we like that’s a good deal, we get it,” said Fruean.

Based on the crowd at the store Friday afternoon, they weren’t the only ones.

Gustafson said the Kona Target continues to grow and break sales records, far above the national average.

Joy Hanato was making the rounds for good deals. After shopping for $4 T-shirts at Target, she headed to Walmart with her daughters to get underwear and pajamas.

“Got to go where the deals are,” she said.

But more and more consumers are taking to online shopping this year.

According to the Associated Press, Thanksgiving Day hit new records for online shopping. Consumers spent $4.2 billion on Thanksgiving, a 14.5% increase from the holiday a year ago. Black Friday was on track to hit $7.4 billion.

“This has been a really good start,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman and leader of U.S. retail and distribution practice at Deloitte LLP.

The National Retail Federation expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11% and 14% for the holiday period.

Parking was at a premium at Kona Commons as shoppers sought deals and had some lunch.

Bath and Body Works was having a buy three get three free Black Friday event and the store was full of shoppers.

“This is our first Black Friday here,” said store manager Tenelle Moller. “So far so good.”

Holiday shopping continues with today’s Small Business Saturday. Consumers are encouraged to shop local and support our community’s small businesses.

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For those who prefer to shop from the comfort of their home (or office), Cyber Monday is right around the corner.

And remember — there’s only 24 shopping days until Christmas.

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