October 28, 2021

For Some Black Friday Novices, Not a Night of Conversion

The shoppers found good deals, like a $14.88 waffle iron and 40 percent off Ann Taylor Loft apparel. But assessing their initial Black Friday excursions later, many first-timers did not seem to think it was worth braving the crowds.

And while most malls and stores were packed but relatively calm, in California, a woman pepper-sprayed fellow Wal-Mart shoppers, apparently to keep them from grabbing an Xbox she wanted. Two other Wal-Mart shoppers, in San Leandro, Calif., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., were shot in the stores’ parking lots, while police arrested shoppers who were fighting over products in Wal-Mart stores in Milford, Conn., Rome, N.Y. and Kissimmee, Fla.

One first-time Black Friday shopper, Debra Banks, 48, was jostled by crowds when she entered a Toys “R” Us in New Jersey and missed out on the limited-edition coupon books. She left the store with nothing. “Well, I can’t say this is fun,” she said. “Enlightening, maybe.”

Shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a custom that is tradition to some and puzzling to others, got a new twist this year with several stores opening as early as 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Analysts said that retailers were aiming for customers who might have limited budgets and trying to appeal to people who would rather stay awake late than awaken for a 4 a.m. opening.

The first numbers on Friday’s sales results are not available until Sunday, but many malls and stores said they were seeing more visitors than last year. Macy’s Herald Square estimated that 9,000 people were waiting for its midnight opening, versus 7,000 when it opened at 5 a.m. last year. The earlier starting times seemed to bring out younger consumers who wanted to extend their Thanksgiving Day revelry by checking out the bargains. But many first-time Black Friday shoppers seemed puzzled by the fuss.

Ms. Banks, a nurse from Beech Island, S.C., was in New Jersey visiting relatives, and left their house at 7:40 Thursday evening to go shopping with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

“This year is different because the stores are opening up earlier,” she said. “I think it’s going to be great fun.”

So Ms. Banks climbed into the front seat of her daughter-in-law Kylie’s Chevrolet Impala, with her granddaughter Cora, 11, sitting in the back. The three of them planned their route. Cora, whose nickname at school is “Coupon Cora,” had particularly strong ideas about what deals they should focus on. They decided to start at a Lawrenceville, N.J., Toys “R” Us in time for its 9 p.m. opening.

The drive was quick, but when they arrived at 8, the line was already halfway around the building.

“Look at that line!” Ms. Banks said. “I just never expected there would be so many people here. And they don’t even open for another hour. C’mon, grab your bags, because we’re getting in!”

Outside the store, employees, along with two Pinkerton detectives, tried to keep the crowds calm. “So let’s just have everybody be respectful of everybody and it’ll all be O.K.,” a store worker told the crowd on the sidewalk.

As the doors opened, customers broke into jogs and Ms. Banks was left empty-handed and a little discouraged. The group then headed to the Lawrenceville Wal-Mart, where shoppers were polite, with a lot of “excuse me’s” as people bumped into one another.

“At least we’re not part of all those people going back for electronics,” Ms. Banks said. “That looks scary. This is a little crazy.”

The women walked out with a play kitchen for $49, a desk chair for $39 and the $14.88 waffle iron. As Ms. Banks wheeled the shopping cart out to the car, she could barely see around the big box containing the kitchen play set.

But while she got some bargains, Ms. Banks said she would not go back to a big-box store next year. “This is fun, but it’s a little too much for me,” she said.

Some first-time Black Friday shoppers said the tough economy had made getting deals a necessary part of buying Christmas gifts and for everyday staples.

Reporting was contributed by Julie Creswell in New Jersey, Steven Yaccino in Illinois, Rebecca Fairley Raney in California and Robbie Brown in Georgia.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=80438cc26bcfc5d059dd40e6146e83d1

Stocks Higher in Late Trading, Helped by Jobs Report

The ADP National Employment Report said 201,000 new private sector jobs were added in March. That is roughly in line with the 210,000 analysts had expected, but investors were encouraged by a strong gain in small-business hiring.

While not a huge surprise, the ADP report “helped the realization that things are not as bleak as they seemed a few weeks ago,” said Ryan Detrick, a strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

The report is seen as a precursor to the government’s March payrolls report due Friday, but the two reports do not always match. Traders are looking for any clues about how strong the job market is as they try to figure out how soon the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates.

Cephalon surged 28 percent after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International offered to take over the biopharmaceutical company for $5.7 billion in cash. Valeant, based in Canada, rose 10 percent. The takeover bid is the latest in a string of deal-related news, another positive sign for investors.

“It shows that companies still think there are some good deals out there,” said Mr. Detrick. “If they are willing to pay a premium, that’s a good sign for the overall stock market.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 80 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,359. The broader Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index rose 10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,329. The Nasdaq composite index rose 19 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,776.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 3.46 percent from 3.49 percent late Tuesday.

The market plodded higher against a backdrop of unsettling international news. Concerns about European debt loomed as Portugal moved closer to needing a bailout and Spain’s central bank forecast a lower growth rate and higher deficit than previously predicted.

Seawater near Japan’s crippled nuclear plant tested at its highest radiation levels yet and the plant’s owner publicly acknowledged that four of six nuclear reactors would have to be decommissioned. In Libya, NATO forces initiated a new wave of airstrikes against forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=1c878859562a1fadfe3e4bdf67a2003c