Nightly News   |  November 27, 2009

Black Friday shoppers turn out in full force

Nov. 27: On Black Friday, NBC’s John Yang reports on whether cautious consumers raced to the stores for early morning sales during  troubling economic times.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> today. kristen, thanks.

>>> retailers say the hot items this year are cashmere, consumer electronics , and toy hamsters. and those same retailers are hoping everybody's out there in force spending money today. so-called black friday because it's supposed to put retailers in the black. our own john yang has been at least observing it all day. he's in chicago for us tonight. john, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. the usual big crowds this black friday. but a new emphasis on security this year. remember, there was a trampling death last year. and also some telling differences in what shoppers were looking for.

>> everybody, get in the door.

>> reporter: from minnesota to new york, it was the annual early morning running of the bargain hunters . in seattle patty edwards hit the stores at 3:30 a.m . but she wasn't looking for deals. as a retail analyst she was looking for clues.

>> and do you think you guys are spending more this year or less --

>> less.

>> reporter: when edwards met irma simmons outside penney's, it was already simmons' second stop but not her last.

>> where's my other team member?

>> reporter: she'd organized two carloads of friends with the precision of a military operation .

>> midnight. old navy was 3:00. jcpenney 4:00. target 5:00. kmart 6:00.

>> reporter: like other black friday shoppers they were on a mission for bargains.

>> it's cold.

>> you've got to save money in this economy. you save identify hundred bucks on this computer, a few hundred bucks on that tv, it also makes it worth it. definitely.

>> reporter: there were big crowds for this season's must-have items like zhu zhu pets.

>> only time i go to black friday is a hot item i've got my hands on.

>> reporter: some found a way to shop for deals today without the crowds. a recent survey found that nearly half of black friday shoppers bland to buy online.

>> for the retailer who's trying to get as many sales as possible this holiday season , they really don't care where you shop. they just want you to shop with them.

>> reporter: not all stores were busy. retail analyst patty edwards said she saw fewer shopping bags this year from upscale retailers.

>> a lot of people looking to take that same amount of money that they spent last year and stretch it further.

>> i think the sales are a little better than last year.

>> i'm probably spending a little more because of the sales.

>> reporter: bad economy or not, retailers hope that when shoppers get into the stores they'll catch the spirit. and of course it's not just today. experts are going to be watching trends all through this weekend. and the other big shopping day, the saturday before christmas. brian?

>> john yang in the miracle mile in chicago tonight . john, thanks.