Gunshots, fighting, and thievery broke out last night as over eager shoppers and those looking to take advantage of the Black Friday frenzy caused trouble at retail spots across the country.
From fights in Southern California over people trying to cut the line, to a ghastly slashing in West Virginia over a Wal-Mart parking spot, Black Friday turned grim as news of the incidents poured into news outlets.
Reports were that Black Friday was going to be a bit of a bust this year, with polls and analysts saying that many people were going to save their shopping for another day. But Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart US told the TODAY show that the retailer had a “terrific” night. Still, he acknowledged that customers are “challenged” by things like food stamp cuts and he says the retailer is trying to take that into account. (Watch the clip of Simon speaking to Willie Geist below. He addresses issues of pay and Thanksgiving hours as well.)
Despite this craziness, USA Today says that the Thanksgiving Day opening is keeping the usual Black Friday madness at bay at a lot of retailers. With consumers given more time to get deals, there’s no need for bum rushing store doors or as much pushing and pulling at items in the aisles. Five years ago on Black Friday, a Wal-Mart worker was killed when he was trampled by eager shoppers.
“Overall, the National Retail Federation expects retail sales to be up 4 percent to $602 billion during the last two months of the year. That’s higher than last year’s 3.5 percent growth, but below the 6 percent pace seen before the recession,” the paper says.
Investors are getting a good deal today as well with stocks up on a short trading day. Markets close at 1pm ET.