-- Shan Li
Wal-Mart touts 'best ever' Black Friday / 8:33 a.m.
The retailer rolled out deals starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. From 8 p.m. to midnight, Wal-Mart processed nearly 10 million register transactions, handling 5,000 items a second, the company said. Mmore than 22 million shopped in Wal-Mart's stores during the four-hour period.
Last year, the chain opened at 10 p.m.
More than 1.3 million employees are staffing the holiday weekend, Wal-Mart U.S. chief executive Bill Simon said in a statement.
The company split its sales into three time periods, each with a different type of merchandise available. At 8 p.m., toys, games and home apparel went on sale. At 10 p.m., electronics. At 5 a.m., jewelry, tools and other items.
Since 8 p.m. Thursday, Wal-Mart had sold 1.8 million towels, 1.3 million televisions, 1.3 million dolls and 250,000 bicycles, the company said in a statement released at about 6:30 a.m. PST.
“We had very safe and successful Black Friday events at our stores across the country and heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers,” Simon said.
-- Laura J. Nelson
Black Friday shoppers 'crazy,' 'civil,' wary, tired / 7:38 a.m.
At the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa, the Black Friday deals were crazy, but the crowds were not.
At 4 a.m., well-dressed younger customers browsed the stores that opened earliest as Christmas music rife with harpsichords and trumpets played in the background. Other hopeful customers slept in lines, waiting for stores to open their doors.
On its website, the 2.8-million-square foot mall referred to Black Friday as a Day After Thanksgiving sale.
"This is much more civil," said Shelly Wilcox, a single mother from Costa Mesa.
Civility aside, the appetite for bargains was not in any way diminished at stores that opened as early as Thursday evening.
At Sears, hundreds of $97 32-inch televisions disappeared minutes after the store opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. At clothing store H&M, more than 300 people had lined up an hour before the store's 5 a.m. opening Friday. And Macy's, which opened at midnight Friday, "was a zoo," said Tammy Do, a student at Orange Coast College.
"Shoes were, like, everywhere," Do said.