It’s Black Friday: Ready, Set, Shop!
Bleary-eyed shoppers across the state are giving Black Friday's new midnight opening hours mixed reviews.
Some are finding the bargains they came for are available for purchase -- but not for pickup once they've paid in full.
Shoppers at the Freehold Raceway Mall expressed frustration that not all of the stores opened at midnight, leaving some to wait in line for stores that opened at 5 a.m.
Shoppers in Ocean County camped in tents starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in order to grab midnight bargains on flat-screen TVs and other electronics.
Malls across the state were seeing brisk sales of an item every early-bird shopper seemed to want: Coffee.
There were no reports in New Jersey of the violence that marred some Black Friday sales elsewhere in the country.
Early signs indicate that crowds at the nation's malls and at big retail stores are bigger today than they were last year.
Some 152 million people are expected to holiday shop today, tomorrow and Sunday.
The onset of Black Friday puts retailers in that pins-and-needles time of year which could determine as much as 40 percent of annual revenue.
It's expected that shoppers will spend nearly $500 billion during the holiday shopping season, or about 3 percent more than they did last year.
BLACK FRIDAY VIOLENCE
Los Angeles police are looking for a woman who used pepper spray to keep rival shoppers away from merchandise she wanted last night.
Twenty people suffered minor injuries after being sprayed at a Walmart.
In Fayetteville, N.C., police are looking for two suspects who fired shots in a mall. There are no reports of injuries.
Police in upstate New York say two women were injured and a man has been charged after a fight broke out at a Walmart.
And a Phoenix TV station (KSAZ) reports that a grandfather was roughed up by police in a Walmart after he allegedly put a game in his waistband so he could lift his grandson out of an unruly crowd.
Witnesses told the station that police slammed the man to the ground -- possibly thinking he was stealing the game.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)