Early shoppers catch early bird bargains

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - November 25, 2011

More than 152 million people are expected to go bargain shopping over the weekend nationwide.

The National Retail Federation says that shoppers are finding discounts as deep as 70% on merchandise.

Thousands of people piled into the Philadelphia Premium Outlets for the Midnight Madness sale.

Stores offered discounts stacked on top of sale prices to draw this kind of crowd with hopes that it would be that way for the entire weekend.

According to the National Retail Federation some 50 million shoppers were expected to be out before 6:00am Friday morning, and a good number of them appeared to be here at the Cherry Hill Mall.

Some stores here opened at 4:00am, others as early as midnight.

The line was long outside Forever 21 at the relatively late hour at 5:00am.

"With everyone opening so early this year, it made it a little bit harder, because you didn't really get to take the little nap that you would have if everything opened at 4:00am," said Emily Harrigan.

And for many of the shoppers, it wasn't the first stop.

Robin Feller came to the mall after an ugly 10:00pm incident with the Crockpot sale at Walmart.

"These women were picking up these Crockpots over the guards, and tossing them over to the other person with a cart," said Robin Feller, who suffered a battle wound after being hit in the head with a Crockpot. "Seriously, it was crazy."

Gwen Tillery had a more successful trip to Walmart, picking up a laptop, and two TV's.

"Then we went to Target and the lines were horrible," said Gwen. "People were standing in line for over an hour; same thing at Kohl's, over an hour, so we came here."

Of course, the big lure for the crowds were big discounts available only to early birds.

Guess offered 30% off the entire store, Abercrombie and Fitch was 50% off, and Express was not only taking 50% off everything, but also offering $25 to spend on a future purchase with every $50 spent on Friday.

To fuel the shoppers, the mall gave away free water bottles, snacks and coffee.

Just as the morning shopping deals weren't lasting very long, the holiday shopping season isn't that long. A month from now, it will be Christmas Eve and all of the hype will be over.

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