Retailers are going all-out to lure shoppers on Black Friday.
The day after Thanksgiving traditionally is the biggest shopping day of the season, and this year retailers are viewing it as a harbinger of whether consumers are ready to break out of a years-long spending slump spurred by the recession.
The Glendale Galleria, home to anchors including Target, Nordstrom, Macy's and JCPenney and more than 200 shops, will open early and offer a host of deals.
Some Galleria retailers, including the Disney Store, Aeropostale and the Children's Place, will open as the clock strikes midnight. At 3 a.m., Forever 21 and For Love 21 will open, and then at 4 a.m. JCPenney, Macy's and Target will let in the early crowds. The Galleria officially opens at 5 a.m.
The center is offering a $10 gift certificate to shoppers who come by the customer service center between 5 and 11 a.m. with proof of purchases of $100 or more.
In addition, Galleria "shopping docs" will give away bags, First Aid kits, hand sanitizer and advice Friday morning. Outside Target, the Galleria has set up a drop-off box so consumers can donate toys to Child S.H.A.R.E. The charity, which has a Glendale office, supports foster children and their adoptive families.
At the Americana at Brand, Black Friday marks the debut of several seasonal events.
At 7 p.m., the Americana offers its "Winter Wonderland" light and sound show in the main courtyard. The show will be repeated at 7 and 8 p.m. every night through Christmas.
Friday also kicks off Weekly Wish Nights, where the Make-A-Wish Foundation will help a needy child's dream come true in a 6 p.m. ceremony. After Black Friday, the ceremonies will be held each Thursday through Dec. 23.
The Americana also has launched its annual holiday school gift program. Shoppers can donate 5% of the proceeds of their purchases to the local school of their choice by bringing their receipts to the Americana concierge desk. The program, which last year generated more than $100,000, runs through Dec. 24.
Burbank Town Center, home to stores including Macy's, Sears, Sport Chalet, Burlington Coat Factory and more than 100 other shops and restaurants, will open at 6 a.m. The first 500 customers at the center's Magnolia Door entrance will receive goodie bags with special discounts and offers and the chance to win prizes including a Flip video camera.
At the Empire Center, stores including GameStop will open at the stroke of midnight. Other stores will open early and keep extended hours. Target will open at 4 a.m., Best Buy and Lowe's at 5 a.m., Michael's at 6 a.m. and Nordstrom and TJ Maxx at 7 a.m.
Several shops in the Magnolia Park area have teamed up for an event called Ladies Night Out from 6 to 9 p.m. on Black Friday.
More than 20 shops along the 3300 to 3800 blocks of Magnolia Boulevard will offer discounts, live entertainment, holiday drawings and food and wine tastings.
Participating stores include Bell Cottage, Cobblestone Gifts and Floral, Audrey K, Encore Nouveau, Free Bird, Mindfulnest,1928 Jewelry Company and Alexa's It's New to You! — where one of the last of "The Wizard of Oz" munchkins, Jerry Maren, will sign copies of his autobiography about 60 years of movie and television performances.
Black Friday has also prompted Los Angeles officials to warn shoppers to be careful when it comes to the special promotions and offers.
They warned that cash register scanners do not always reflect special promotions and sales prices, and customers should double-check that they are getting the price they expect.
The county Department of the Agricultural Commissioner/Weights & Measures runs a Buyer Beware program that investigates overcharging claims. For more information, call (800) 665-2900.