Ariz. shoppers pack stores in annual buying rush

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Photo -   Shoppers wait in line outside a clothing store, Tilley's, during Black Friday sales at the Paradise Valley Mall at Tatum and Cactus in Phoenix, Friday Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Dave Seibert)
Shoppers wait in line outside a clothing store, Tilley's, during Black Friday sales at the Paradise Valley Mall at Tatum and Cactus in Phoenix, Friday Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Dave Seibert)
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PHOENIX (AP) — Shoppers flocked to malls and other retailers across Arizona for huge bargains in the annual post-Thanksgiving buying frenzy known as Black Friday, with many following retailers who decided to get a jump on the day by opening Thursday night.

Some retailers in Phoenix had huge lines snaking around their stores early Friday, with video taken by a KTVK-TV helicopter showing throngs crowded around the entrance to a north Phoenix Fry's Electronics store as the doors swung wide before dawn. That same rush was repeated at major retailers like Target and Wal-Mart across Arizona, which both opened Thursday night.

Both KTVK and the Arizona Republic reported that shoppers seemed less hurried during Friday's shopping than in some cases in earlier years.

Among the big draws were computers, video games and flat-screen TVs were among the more popular items, but less expensive goods also drew shoppers.

The early openings on Thursday drew Nancy Miner and Susan Bondy of Scottsdale to a Toys R Us in north Phoenix Thursday night. The great grandmothers and close friends told the Republic they had long shopping lists — between the two they have 21 grandchildren, four great grandchildren and two adopted special-needs teens — but they planned to be done by daylight Friday.

They said they appreciated not having to wake up at 4 a.m. to go bargain hunting.

Chris Ras, a Target manager in Tempe, said his company intentionally made sure there were plenty of deals left for shoppers who either didn't want to go to shop late Thursday or get up early on Friday.

But those looking for big-item doorbuster sales still had to wait it out.

Velbeth Reyes, a 33-year-old from Mesa resident, camped out at a Phoenix-area Best Buy for three days.

When the store's doors opened at midnight, Reyes was one of just 15 customers able to buy a 55-inch television for $799.

"I didn't want to take a risk," Reyes told the Republic. "Our TV broke down in the summer. But we've been waiting because we knew we would find a deal on Black Friday."

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