Shoppers flocked to malls for Black Friday but it was different this year

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Black Friday looked much different in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shoppers still flocked to malls, but retailers said it was not as busy as 2019.

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The days of hoards of people rushing into stores for limited Black Friday deals are over, but shoppers still came out in droves.

Ala Moana was crowded with customers waiting in lines outside many stores.

Black Friday shopper Eddie Sadaba said he and his family had been waiting in line to get into one store for about 30 minutes.

Local Motion Ala Moana supervisor Mikayla Ah Sam said she was surprised with how busy they were. She did not expect that many people to come out to shop.

“We are really crowded. But of course compared to last year not as many people,” Ah Sam said.

Pearlridge Center was also fairly crowded, according to Pearlridge Center Marketing Director Diana Su-Niimi.

“After seeing what the crowd has been like since three in the morning, this morning, up until now, I know that a lot of our business owners and store managers are very happy,” Su-Niimi said.

Kahala Mall saw a steady flow of customers throughout the day.

Most stores offer online shopping, but Myra Concepcion, assistant manager of The Compleat Kitchen, said nothing beats shopping in person.

“We have an online shop, but a lot of people are coming in. They want so see what they’re buying. They want to feel it. They want to talk to us to ask our opinions. We get a lot of on-hand shoppers,” Concepcion said.

To encourage sales this year, Retail Merchants of Hawaii President Tina Yamaki said many stores extended their Black Friday deals.

“It’s not just one weekend anymore, where it starts on Black Friday and then you have Small Business Saturday, and then you have Cyber Monday. Now this whole thing has been stretched out for this whole month already and also going into December,” Yamaki explained.

Most stores are offering deals online and by delivery, as well as through curbside pick up options.

While busy stores and malls were a welcome sight for retailers, Yamaki said many shoppers may not spend as much as they have in years past.

“It’s called list shopping. So if it’s on the list, they’ll buy it. If it’s not on the list, they’re not looking for that item. The other thing that we’re seeing too, is that people are very budget conscious. They’re looking for bargains,” Yamaki explained.

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