UPDATE: People camped out since Thursday afternoon poured into the Mall of America Saturday morning despite a year marked by historic inflation.
Mall of America officials say more than 10,000 people rushed inside in the first hours after opening Friday.
The first people in line arrived at MOA at 4 pm on Thanksgiving.
“Opening our doors Black Friday morning to an excited crowd is a unique experience,” said Jill Renslow, executive vice president of business development and marketing at MOA. “We saw an incredible turnout today, which shows that people are ready to return to their holiday traditions. At the Mall of America, we offer a truly magical experience this time of year, setting the perfect backdrop for our visitors to create special memories with their loved ones.”
The first 4,000 customers received scratch cards with prizes valued up to $600, mall officials said, while the first 200 customers also received an MOA gift card.
Check out the videos embedded above and below to see how people are preparing for the holidays and visit this link to learn how you can help children this holiday season.
INITIAL REPORTS: Shoppers began lining up outside the Mall of America Thursday evening — some as much as 12 hours before Black Friday’s opening time — to take advantage of annual sales and a special bonus at the mall.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reporter Kelsey Christensen spoke with a group of friends who entered the line at 7 pm on Thanksgiving Day to get the gift cards the mall is giving away to the first 200 shoppers. The first 4,000 people are also expected to get scratch-off.
“To stay warm, we have many layers, and to entertain ourselves, we just find each other,
one buyer told Christensen around 5:30 am Friday. “We played cards, talked, passed around old photos, tried to pass the time.”
The group, which does this together every year, said it is just as much about spending time with friends as it is about shopping.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is expecting a record number of shoppers this Black Friday as those hit by inflation look for smaller gifts.
The NRF predicted 166 million people – 8 million more than in 2021 – will shop this weekend, and retailers are expecting a boom in sales.
Many companies are in a better place this year after suffering from constant shortages in the supply chain that started during the pandemic. Now they have more stock and can offer more deals.
The biggest discounts are expected on clothes, toys and electronics.