Published November 25, 2011
Despite a lagging economy and high unemployment rates, retailers are reporting this year is one of the best for sales, with 152 million shoppers expected to hit stores this Black Friday.
Early reports suggest that bigger crowds were found at the nation's malls and stores as retailers like Macy’s and Target opened their doors at Midnight.
It what seems to be a burgeoning Black Friday tradition, reports of violence erupted throughout the country.
Authorities in Los Angeles say that 20 people suffered minor injuries at a local Walmart when a woman used pepper spray on them to get to the front of the line when the store opened Thursday evening.
Police in Fayetteville, N.C. are hunting for two suspects after gunfire went off early Friday in the Cross Creek Mall.
At a Walmart in upstate New York, a man was arrested after two women were injured in a fight that broke out.
In Phoenix, television station KSAZ reported that a grandfather was roughed up by police after he put a game in his waistband to free up his hands to lift his grandson above the crowd. He was slammed to the ground by cops, who likely assumed that he was shoplifting.
Adding to that, some Occupy Wall Street protesters, which turned up for the Macy's midnight opening, are expected to plan flash mobs and other events later in the day in places like Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Boise, Idaho to urge people to reconsider shopping at national chains on Black Friday.
The incidents come as a record number of shoppers are expected to head out to stores across the country this weekend to take advantage of discounts of up to 70 percent. For three days starting on Black Friday, 152 million people are expected shop, up about 10 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Indeed, about 600 shoppers were in line at a Target store in Brooklyn in New York when it opened at midnight. By the time it opened at midnight, nearly 2,000 shoppers wrapped around a Best Buy store in St. Petersburg, Fla. Mall of America, the nation's largest mall in North America, had 15,000 shoppers for its midnight opening. And more than 9,000 people were outside the flagship Macy's store in New York's Herald Square at its midnight opening, up from 7,000 a year ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.