Pre-holiday sales beginning 'earlier and earlier' in Southwest Florida

Greg Kahn/Staff 
 Scenes from Black Friday at Best Buy in Naples on Nov. 25, 2011. Stores opened at Midnight for shoppers looking for huge deals.

Photo by Greg Kahn

Greg Kahn/Staff Scenes from Black Friday at Best Buy in Naples on Nov. 25, 2011. Stores opened at Midnight for shoppers looking for huge deals.

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The color black isn't just for Friday anymore.

Some now also refer to Thanksgiving as Black Thursday, as retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys R Us will open at 8 p.m. Nov. 22 instead of waiting until after midnight. Target plans to open at 9 p.m.

Stores traditionally have opened after midnight, in the wee hours of Friday morning.

"It keeps getting earlier and earlier every year," said Jeff Staner, vice president of Miromar Outlets in Estero, which opens at 10 p.m. Thursday.

About 60 stores and some kiosks at the Coastland Center mall in Naples will open at midnight Thursday, with the entire mall open at 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23, said Melissa Wolf, Coastland marketing manager.

Stores such as Old Navy will open early, with deals including half-zip fleeces for $5, and Victoria's Secret will have a sale of buy one bra and get one half off and receive a free tote, Wolf said. For hungry shoppers, Panda Express and a few other food court businesses will be open at midnight.

H&M, which has its grand opening today, also will open at midnight, Wolf said.

Gulf Coast Town Center in San Carlos Park opens at 6 a.m. Nov. 23, with a few stores opening at midnight — Super Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, Belk and Best Buy, said Ashleigh Henry, the mall's assistant manager/marketing director. Belk plans to give away one $1,000 gift card to a lucky customer.

"We anticipate as large of a crowd as we've had in the past and for traffic to increase from this year over last year," Henry said.

Coconut Point mall in Estero will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 23, with some stores opening earlier. Waterside Shops in Naples is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 23. Black Friday hours for the Mercato in North Naples were not on the mall's website and mall officials were unavailable for comment.

Miromar began the Southwest Florida trend of opening its doors early for shoppers. Since 2007, the outlets have opened no later than midnight Thursday.

Some stores will open starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, including Bass, Gymboree, Izod, Starbucks, Subway, Sunglass Hut, Calvin Klein and Van Heusen. In addition to store sales, shoppers can enter every hour to win a gift card because Miromar will hand out a total $6,000 in cards from midnight to 5 a.m., Staner said.

He said the decision to open at 10 p.m. this year came last year, when the outlets opened at 11 p.m. and crowds began forming around 10 o'clock.

"By midnight, they were parking at Germain Arena and walking over," he said.

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