Friday, November 23, 2012

A crowd gathers as security guards break up a fight between shoppers waiting in line just as the doors open for Black Friday shopping Nov. 22 at Target in Bowling Green, Ky

Hordes of shoppers descended on stores across the country in the ritual known as Black Friday after many major retailers moved their openings into Thanksgiving night.

In Santa Monica, Calif., about five people were injured at an Urban Outfitters store shortly after midnight after shoppers smashed a tall glass door, the Los Angeles Times reported. In Tallahassee, Fla., police told WCTV that two people were shot outside the local Wal-Mart, but their injuries were reported to be non-life threatening.

The world's largest retailer reported its best ever Black Friday events after opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. During the high-traffic period from 8 p.m. through midnight, Wal-Mart processed nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items per second.

"The early read is Wal-Mart’s been one of the clear winners," said R. J. Hottovy, a senior retail analyst at Morningstar. The combination of expanded hours, aggressive pricing and guaranteed availability of some doorbuster deals are likely to pay off for the nation’s largest retailer."

Shoppers rush to grab electric griddles and slow cookers on sale for $8 shortly after the doors opened at a J.C. Penney store Nov. 23 in Las Vegas. Black Friday got a jump start this year as many stores opened just as families were finishing up Thanksgiving dinner. Stores are experimenting with ways to compete with online rivals like that can offer holiday shopping deals at any time and on any day.

At a Walmart in Moultrie, Ga., an online video showed a large crowd of people pushing, yelling and grabbing boxes off a shelf during a Black Friday promotion.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove says a deal on a cell phone with a prepaid, unlimited usage plan "led to excitement among our customers." He called the incident unfortunate, but said it was isolated.

He says staff and security were on hand at the store to handle the situation and that no injuries were reported.

Cops: Bargain-hunter took home TV, left tot

In southeast Los Angeles County, authorities arrested a small group of protesters at a Black Friday demonstration outside a Walmart store

Elizabeth Brennan of Warehouse Workers United says nine people, including three Walmart employees, were arrested shortly after noon Friday for blocking the street outside the store in Paramount, Calif.

Wal-Mart was the target of a broad campaign against the company's treatment of workers that is being waged by a union-backed group called OUR Walmart, which includes former and current workers.

Protesters supporting workers' rights demonstrate outside a Walmart store in Chicago on Nov. 23.

Related: Black Friday shoppers pass Walmart picket

Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, said “hundreds and hundreds” of Walmart workers either walked off the job Friday or didn’t come in for a scheduled shift.

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar disputed that, saying that the number of workers who missed shifts today was significantly lower than last year on Black Friday.

“We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today,” Tovar said, calling the activists’ claim of activity at 1,000 stores “grossly exaggerated.”

Tovar said that the discounter learned from shoppers that they want to start shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner. Then, they want to have time to go to bed before they wake up to head back out to the stores.

Still, Tovar said that Wal-Mart works to accommodate its workers' requests for different working hours. "We spent a lot of time talking to them, trying to figure out when would be the best time for our events," he said.

Jasmine Britton, 18, of Huntington Beach rests while shopping at the Los Cerreitos Center mall in Cerritos, Calif. on Nov. 23.

‘Early bird does get the worm’
The early read from retail analysts is that Friday morning traffic was steady, but less hectic than previous years. “Black Friday... kind of migrated to where much of the action was last night,” said Budd Bugatch, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates. “Associates said it was wall-to-wall people last night.”

“The early bird does get the worm here. Target is more aggressive than they were a year ago,” said Patrick McKeever, senior equity analyst at MKM Partners LLC. “Kohl’s looked good at midnight... it was just bumper-to-bumper people.”

National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay told CNBC that more than 147 million people were expected to go shopping this weekend.

“Looks like we’re off to a great start,” Shay said.

It’s likely that the combination of earlier openings and guaranteed availability of some door-busters helped space out traffic. Bugatch said a handful of stores he visited Friday morning had enough time to reorganize and tidy up their displays.

The question for stores is whether last night’s early surge will sustain its momentum through the weekend.

“I think there was probably a very modest net positive impact for brick and mortar sales versus last year, but the majority of what we’ve seen this year is just a shift,” said McKeever. “There’s less of a Black Friday frenzy today than last year. It’s becoming more like Black Thursday night... Today’s going to be a significantly quieter day.”

'I only shop for sales'
At the Mall of America, outside Minneapolis, shoppers thronged the stores to load up on goods early Friday but the situation was under control, NBC News’ Jay Gray reported.

Shoppers wait in a checkout line Nov. 23 at a Kmart store in Braintree, Mass.

Stores typically open in the wee hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving, named Black Friday because it is traditionally when they turn a profit for the year. However, these days, most retailers must be profitable year round.

But this year, stores such as Target and Toys R Us opened as early as Thanksgiving evening. About 11,000 shoppers were in lines wrapped around Macy's flagship store in New York City's Herald Square when it opened Thursday night.

Slideshow: Americans line up for Black Friday

Joan Riedewald, a private aide for the elderly, and her four children ages 6 to 18, were among them. By the time they showed up at the department store, Riedewalde had already spent about $100 at Toys R Us and planned to spend another $500 at Macy's before heading to Old Navy.

"I only shop for sales," she said.

A few hours later at about 3:30 a.m. ET at a nearby Toys R Us in New York's Times Square, the scene was a bit calmer.

Elizabeth Garcia, 17, a sales rep from the city's Bronx borough, was shopping for toys for her three children ages three, five and seven. She said she specifically decided on the later shopping start to avoid the crowds on Thanksgiving. She believes that was the best decision: Last year, she almost got into a fight over a Tinker Bell couch. But this year was much calmer.

"This year I wasn't about to kill people," Garcia said.

Adding convenience
The earlier hours are an effort by stores to make shopping as convenient as possible for Americans, who they fear will not spend freely during the two-month holiday season in November and December because of economic uncertainty.

At the same time, Americans have grown more comfortable shopping on websites that offer cheap prices and the convenience of being able to buy something from smartphones, laptops and tablet computers just about anywhere.

Avoid early bird remorse: 10 Black Friday gadget do's and dont's

That has put added pressure on brick-and-mortar stores, which can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season, to give consumers a compelling reason to leave their homes.

In addition to expanding their hours, many retailers also are offering free layaways and shipping, matching the cheaper prices of online rivals and updating their mobile shopping apps with more information.

From turkey to the stores
Some holiday shoppers seemed to find stores' earlier hours appealing.

"I ate my turkey dinner and came right here," said Rasheed Ali, a 23-year-old student in New York City who bought a 50-inch Westinghouse TV for $349 and a Singer sewing machine for $50 at a Target in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood that opened at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. "Then I'm going home and eating more."

Not everybody was happy with Black Friday starting earlier.

Mike Labounty, 34, Lyndonville, Vt., was shopping on Thursday night for 32-inch Emerson televisions and other items on sale at the Walmart in Littleton, N.H., with his partner, Darcy Mitchell.

"I think it should go back to Friday," he said. "It breaks up families. Just look at us -- our kids are with their grandparents and they should be with us on Thanksgiving, but we're here getting them a TV."

NBC News contributor Martha C. White, Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
ComingHome for Our Military and their Loved Ones.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

November 21, 2012
In celebration of Thanksgiving, we thought we’d put together some of the best Thanksgiving Day military homecoming surprises that have been sent in over the years. Happy Thanksgiving from Welcome Home Blog!

November 20, 2012
One Sailor and his family especially enjoyed the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting a military appreciation game against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field, Nov. 8.
While the action on the field was the main focus for more than 60,000 screaming fans, a moment that had nothing to do with football may have produced the loudest cheers. The entire stadium was on its feet as Construction Mechanic 1st Class William Cook ran out of the tunnel to meet his wife and daughters during halftime.
Cook, who is assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CMBU) 202 on board Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, spent the last 10 months deployed to Afghanistan as an individual augmentee (IA). He had not seen his family since last Christmas, and his family was completely unaware that he was coming home. But thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars and his chain of command, he was able to reunite with his family earlier than expected. The event was even more special to Williams and his family because it just happened to be his daughter’s 21st birthday.

Soldier, Home From Iraq After 6 Months, Reunites With Pregnant Wife
“Adam was in Iraq for six months and this video is his reunion with his pregnant wife, Lindsey. It was a very emotional moment (and long wait)! It was a truly patriotic time where everyone was so thankful for what the soldiers have done, but also so grateful that they were home.”

-Effulgence Cinema

U.S. National Guard Soldier Surprises Daughter On High School Senior Night

via CullmanSense:

Senior Night for High School student Elizabeth Randau and her sister, 7th grader Lilly, will be one the two girls will not soon forget. The girls’ dad, Sgt. Major John Randau, made a surprise appearance while Elizabeth was standing center field with her mother.

“It’s great, just great,” exclaimed Elizabeth just moments after embracing her dad.

Sgt. Major Randu has been deployed to Afghanistan with the 115th ESB Alabama Army National Guard, stationed out of Florence, Alabama for the last year, leaving behind his four children, Elizabeth, 17, Lilly, 13, Reagan, 8, and Alex, 18, in the care of his family and friends.

“It is good to be home,” said Sgt. Major Randau while hugging his two girls.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer Surprises Children At Veterans Day Celebration

Cops: Mass. bargain-hunter took home TV, left 2-year-old boy behind
By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Police say a Massachusetts man left his girlfriend's 2-year-old son in a car while he went shopping for Black Friday bargains, then went home with his new 51-inch flat screen television and left the toddler behind.

Police, alerted by store security, found the boy asleep in the vehicle in a Kmart parking lot at about 1:30 a.m. Friday.

They forced their way into the car and took the boy to the hospital as a precaution.

Meanwhile, they tracked the man to his Springfield home.

C Michael Bergen / Zuma Press
Eager holiday shoppers forego an after Thanksgiving nap to wait in line for door busting bargains.

Hordes of shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday

He told police he lost the boy while shopping, panicked and called someone else for a ride. The boy's mother was working.

The 34-year-old man was not arrested and not immediately charged, but police say they expect to charge him with reckless endangerment to a child.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Though Black Friday officially kicked off the holiday shopping season this morning, many shoppers were already bargain-hunting before Thanksgiving dinner had a chance to settle. CNBC's Courtney Reagan reports from the Black Friday frenzy in Dayton, Ohio.

From farmer to supermodel: China's latest fashion sensation is 72-year-old granddad
Check out the web site, the fashions are cute. And the idea that grandpa was happy to help his grand daughter, wow that is awesome. And he is fab! 

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
A Chinese grandfather is proving love knows no bounds as he models looks to promote his granddaughter's clothing store for teens. The photos went viral after they were posted on the Internet.

By Liu Yanzhou, NBC News

Updated at 9:43 a.m. ET: BEIJING -- Liu Qianping is a retired farmer from China's Hunan province. But after jokingly modeling a range of ladies' wear, the 72-year-old has become an online sensation.

"I never dreamed all this. I used to be a farmer, but now, after coming to the big city, I have become famous,” Liu told NBC News.

Daily sales for the outlet he models for, Yecoo Fashion Store, have jumped from an average $160-a-day in May to more than $1,100. Altogether, Yecoo's site has recorded 250,000 visits. China’s Twitter-like social networking site Weibo has recorded more than 9.6 million searches for “granddad,” how Liu is now known by millions.

It all started with Lv Ting, Liu’s granddaughter. Armed with lots of enthusiasm but no experience, the 24-year-old and four friends set-up Yecoo out of a tiny apartment in Guangzhou, the capital of the booming southern province of Guangdong, in May.

Lv borrowed 160,000 Renminbi ($25,000) from her brother as security deposit to register her store on Taobao, China's leading online shopping site.

At first her sister-in-law modeled the clothes -- models are expensive in Guangzhou – and Lv served as photographer. However, in the first five months, with only several items sold per day, they could barely make ends meet.

"It wasn't smooth sailing at all in the beginning," Lv said.

Courtesy of Lv Ting
Liu goes "Gangnam Style," left, and in his regular clothes, right.

Then Taobao announced a big discount ahead of November 11 -- China's Bachelors' Day -- for all its shops. Lu and friends decided to splash out on a new collection for the big day.

Coincidentally, Lv's grandfather came to visit her during this time. As a joke, Liu tried on some of the merchandise.

"I saw they bought lots of new colorful clothes, and so I started trying out a new cloak coat, because it was cool," Liu told NBC News.
Lv and her colleagues took pictures, and sent them to friends for a laugh. To their surprise, the feedback was positive, and soon decided that the skinny former farmer was the supermodel they have been looking for.

Courtesy of Lv Ting
Liu Qianping, 72, started modeling clothes from his granddaughter's online shop as a joke, but he has become an online sensation.

The fashion photos went viral on Weibo, and Taobao posted them on their cover page to attract sales.

But none of this has gone to Liu’s head.

"Besides cleaning up the apartment for my little granddaughter every day, I get interviewed by many people. And I still enjoy playing poker online as usual," he said.

When asked if he was embarrassed about the pictures, he said no.

"I will definitely share these photos with [my friends] when I go back to Hunan during Spring Festival!"

Courtesy of Lv Ting
Liu takes his role as supermodel lightly -- and still finds time to clean his granddaughter's apartment.

Most important to Liu was that he had been helpful to Lv.

“Most special is that I could do something for my little granddaughter. I feel fulfilled," he said.

Ho Ho no! With fate of Twinkies uncertain, try this recipe

Make the iconic cakes at home with a copy-cat version that's just as sweet

TODAY recipes
updated 11/16/2012 9:11:05 AM ET
Friday, Hostess brands announced it would shut down the company after a strike crippled its operations.

Though the fate of its products — from Ho Hos to Ding-Dongs to Wonder Bread — is uncertain, you can calm your Twinkie panic with this home-spun recipe. Todd Wilbur has been cloning some of America’s favorite name-brand foods for more than 20 years and here, he recreates the iconic yellow cakes.

Recipe: Twinkies
Todd Wilbur

Non-stick spray
4 egg whites
One 16-ounce box golden pound cake mix
2/3 cup water

2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups marshmallow creme (one 7-ounce jar)
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

You will need a spice bottle, approximately the size of a Twinkie, ten 12 x 14 -inch pieces of aluminum foil, a cake decorator or pastry bag, and a chopstick.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Fold each piece of aluminum foil in half twice. Wrap the folded foil around the spice bottle to create a mold. Leave the top of the mold open for pouring in the batter. Make 10 of these molds and arrange them on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan. Grease the inside of each mold with a light coating of non-stick spray.

Disregard the directions on the box of cake mix. Instead, beat the egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl combine cake mix with water and beat until thoroughly blended (about 2 minutes). Fold egg whites into the cake batter and slowly combine until completely mixed.

Pour the batter into the molds, filling each one about 3/4 of an inch. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

For the filling, combine salt with the hot water in a small bowl and stir until salt is dissolved. Let this mixture cool.

Combine the marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix well with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.

Add the salt solution to the filling mixture and combine.

When the cakes are done and cooled, use a skewer or chopstick to make three holes in the bottom of each one. Move the stick around inside of each cake to create space for the filling.

Using a cake decorator or pastry bag, inject each cake with filling through all three holes.

Serving SizeServes 10

‘Nail house’ holds up traffic as homeowners fight local government

China Daily via Reuters
A car stops beside a house in the middle of a newly built road in Wenling, China, on Thursday. Two couples have refused to agree to allow their homes to be demolished.

By Ed Flanagan, NBC News

BEIJING – In the “there today, gone tomorrow” world of Chinese construction, entire communities can often disappear and be replaced by high rises or other public works in a matter of weeks or months without any sign of its past residents.

Not so for the drivers on this new road in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang.

Municipal officials in Wenling had been planning a new access road that would lead to a new railway station just outside the city.To make way for the road though, city planners decided they would have to tear down a section of homes in the nearby village of Xiazhangyang that were in its path.

Through methods that range at times from fair compensation all the way down to cajoling, intimidation, beatings and forced evictions, local governments tend to get their way when they have their hearts set on projects.

However, every once in a while, even after the majority of landowners in an area are persuaded to give up their property, one or two steely owners will stand their ground either on principle or determination to squeeze out more compensation from the government.

These lone homes that stand in the way of progress have been nicknamed “nail houses,” on account of the difficulty in prying them out of the earth.

In this case, two families who occupy this five-story building have refused to hand over their property, arguing that the compensation being offered by city officials was insufficient.

One of the residents, Zhang Ling, 46, told the U.K’s Mirror newspaper: “They didn’t offer us enough compensation to leave, so we’re staying.”

More China coverage on NBC's Behind the Wall blog

The financial motivations for these nail house owners to hold out are understandable: Real estate prices in China have skyrocketed in recent years due in no small part to inflation and a lack of other financial vehicles for Chinese to invest their money here on the mainland.

Insufficient compensation from local officials then would make it extremely difficult for homeowners to buy new properties in the areas they live in now, much less closer to the cities that have swallowed up their homes.

Perhaps wary of looking like they are bullying residents, Wenling officials have gone to the building owners with offers, but have been roundly rejected each time. Nevertheless, in a sign of the times here, the government went ahead with the road, simply building around the dilapidated structure.

The road has yet to be officially opened, but homeowner Zhang seemed optimistic about his plight.

“It could be a great opportunity for us,” Zhang told the Mirror. “We could open up a drive-though shop on the ground floor.”

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday, Green Tuesday ... Black Friday isn't the only game in town

'The more special you make it sound, the more you might be able to get people'

  1. news services

updated 11/28/2011 8:02:17 AM ET

PORTLAND, Ore. — Cyber Monday. Green Tuesday. Black Friday. Magenta Saturday.

Chances are you won't find any of these holidays on your calendar. Yet retailers are coming up with names for just about every day of the week during the holiday shopping season.

During T-Mobile's "Magenta Saturday," the event named for the company's pinkish-purple logo earlier this month offered shoppers the chance to buy cellphones and some tablets on a layaway plan. Mattel lured customers in with discounts of 60 percent off toys for girls and boys on "Pink Friday and "Blue Friday." And outdoor retailer Gander Mountain is giving shoppers deals on camouflage and other gear every Thursday through December during "Camo Thursdays."

"There are hundreds of promotions going on this time of year," says Steve Uline, head of marketing for Gander. "We needed to do something a little bit different."

Story: Online sales surge 26 percent on Black Friday

It's difficult to get Americans to spend money when many are struggling with job losses, underwater mortgages or dwindling retirement savings. But merchants are hoping some creative marketing will generate excitement among shoppers during the last two months of the year, a time when many of them make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. And they know that a catchy name can make a huge difference.

"The more special you make it sound, the more you might be able to get people," says Alan Adamson, a managing director at brand consulting firm Landor Associates. "It's tricky to come up with something simple and sticky."

Retailers have done it before.

"Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, in the 1960s became known as the point when merchants turn a profit or operate "in the black." Later, retailers began marketing it as the start of the holiday shopping season with earlier store hours and deep discounts of up to 70 percent off.

Black Friday shoppers get bargains, less brouhaha

It's since become the busiest shopping day of the year. This past weekend, "Black Friday" sales were $11.4 billion, up 7 percent, or nearly $1 billion from the same day last year, according to a report by ShopperTrak, which gathers data from 25,000 outlets across the country. It was the largest amount ever spent on that day.

U.S. retailers racked up a record $52.4 billion in sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, a 16.4 percent jump from a year ago, the National Retail Federation said Sunday. It also forecast a 2.8 percent increase in sales for the November-to-December holiday season, down from the 5.2 percent increase in the same period last year.

'Victim of its own success'
But "Black Friday" has been a blessing and a curse: In recent years, it's become so popular that it's known for its big crowds, long lines, and even disorder and violence among some shoppers.

"Black Friday has become a victim of its own success," says Adamson, the branding expert. "It has been successful to the point where it has created the opportunity that if you don't want to deal with the madness, come out on Tuesday or some other day." 

"Cyber Monday" was coined in 2005 when a retail trade group noticed a spike in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving when people returned to their work computers and shopped. While more people now have Internet access at home, retailers still offer discounts and other online promotions for the day started by, part of The National Retail Federation.

Paul Sakuma / AP, file
Retailers are coming up with names for just about every day of the week during the holiday shopping season, going far beyond the recent addition of Cyber Monday to the retail calendar.

The day has grown increasingly popular. Last year, it was the busiest online shopping day ever, with sales of more than $1 billion, according to research firm ComScore Inc.

During this week's "Cyber Monday," the NRF says nearly 80 percent of retailers plan to offer special promotions. And a record 122.9 million of Americans are expected to shop on the day, up from 106.9 million who shopped on "Cyber Monday" last year, according to a survey conducted for 

Marketers are hoping to strike gold again. Many are doing so by appealing to Americans who've become disenchanted with big business and commercialism.

Nonprofit Green America is launching "Green Tuesday" this week to encourage people to buy gifts with the environment and local communities in mind. The group is planning to push the event every Tuesday through December.

Green America, which says it aims to support society and the environment through economic programs, plans to showcase deals on its website, including jewelry made from recycled nuclear bomb equipment from online retailer and a self-watering system for plants by Dri Water.

Story: Black Friday weekend 2011 sees record turnout

"Mass culture encourages people to run out of their house, now at midnight, and go shopping," says Todd Larsen, director of corporate responsibility for Green America, which vetted the businesses it's highlighting on its website to ensure they meet certain environmental and ethical standards. "Why not wait another day or more and buy something that helps others?"

Last year, American Express named the Saturday after Thanksgiving "Small Business Saturday" to encourage Americans to shop at mom-and-pop shops. This year, it offered a $25 credit to cardholders who register on social media website Facebook and shop at participating stores.

The company launched a campaign to promote the day — including TV ads and marketing materials for small businesses to display in stores.

The effort has worked. Small retailers that accept Amex had a 28 percent increase in revenue during the daylong event last year, compared with a 9 percent rise for all retailers, according to card activity measured by American Express. The company did not disclose the dollar amount spent that day.

Crazed weekend launches crucial retail season

It's not clear yet how small businesses fared during the event this past Saturday, but a company survey before "Small Business Saturday" showed that 89 million consumers had planned to "shop small" on the day.

"People get it; they are behind it 100 percent," says Yabette Alfaro, owner of Swankity Swank, a San Francisco home furnishings and accessories shop that participates in "Small Business Saturday." "Our customers don't want to participate in Black Friday. Most of them think anyone making a stand is great."

Lizbeth Turq, a 26-year old in Deerfield, Ill., this past weekend shopped at several local shops during "Small Business Saturday." She ended up buying some gifts for the holidays, including one for her mother at a home décor store. Most of the items she found were 20 percent off, she says.

"It's really not an issue of having a sale or not," Turq says, "It's an issue of supporting the community I live in and creating jobs, particularly in the economy we are in."

Cyber Monday predictions: Which deals to expect

From appliances to gift cards, what buys to look for on the big online shopping day

Getty Images stock
Attention: Cyber Monday shoppers. expects that we will see many site-wide coupons this year.

By Josh Smith

updated 11/26/2010 11:04:44 AM ET

Black Friday may be the shopping event on the minds of most Americans this week, but those looking for the best deals on the Web are already focusing on Cyber Monday. That's when the deals get really good and the only line you're dealing with is the one connecting you to the Internet.

But will sleeping in on Black Friday mean paying more on Cyber Monday? According to our experts, not really. Here's a sneak peek at what online holiday shoppers can expect.

Deals that deliver
The good news for online shoppers is that Cyber Monday 2010 should deliver; and we don't just mean a bunch of packages to your door. Luke Knowles, founder of Coupon Sherpa, tells WalletPop that he expects, "Cyber Monday deals to be as good, if not better than what we saw last year." Knowles added, "In past years I have noticed that retailers bring out their best online offers, like free shipping on all orders, on Cyber Monday and I don't see that changing this year."

More from Walletpop: Get in the (Financial) holiday spirit with these money tips

Cyber Monday 2010 sneak peek
In planning for Cyber Monday, sign up for e-newsletters from the online stores you want to shop at since they will often send out Cyber Monday deals early to subscribers, says Knowles., another great resource for deals, expects that we will see many site-wide coupons this year. Here are some of the Cyber Monday deals they sent us:
The Limited is offering 40% off site wide, plus free shipping.
Bloomingdales is offering 20% off all orders ($50 off $250) and 30% to 40% off select items.
Saks Fifth Ave is offering 30% to 40% off designer items
Macy's is offering an extra 20% off of almost everything (this was their Black Friday deal, most likely to be duplicated on Cyber Monday)

More from Walletpop: Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday - Which is better for you?

Given the types of Cyber Monday deals we have seen in the past, WalletPop expects deals from many major retailers. Here are some of our predictions for Cyber Monday 2010:

Cyber Monday laptop deals
$349 for a 15.6" Dual Core, 3GB RAM Laptop; look for refurbished deals for even lower prices
Discounts on Customized computers from Dell and HP for 10% to 25% off select systems or specific dollar off coupons.

Cyber Monday HDTV deals
50-inch plasma 1080P HDTVs for $700
Expect to see online retailers like Amazon, Newegg, TigerDirect and more meet or beat Black Friday HDTV prices.

More from Walletpop: How to create a one-time use credit card number

Cyber Monday appliance deals
Discounts on major appliances up to 15% off at places like
Smaller appliances on sale at Amazon and other retailers.

Cyber Monday video game and app deals
Look out for digital download deals on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
Discounts on Xbox Live subscriptions, Microsoft Points, Wii Points and PlayStation Network Cards
Up to 50% off iPhone and iPad apps.
Discounts on controllers and other video game accessories

More from Walletpop: Top 10 Cyber Monday tips for safe online shopping

Clothing Cyber Monday deals
Up to 30% off at stores like American Eagle, Aeropostale and others.
Special deals on high-end items from stores like RowNine and Gilt.

Gift card deals
GiftCardGranny and PlasticJungle will offer gift cards below face value on Cyber Monday.

If these deals aren't enough, be sure to check in at CouponSherpa, and RetailMeNot's Cyber Monday Center for the best Cyber Monday 2010 savings.

Remember to be on the lookout for scams when it comes to Cyber Monday. Adam Levin, Founder of Identity Theft 911, suggests that you use a one time use credit card number (here's how to create one) when checking out to cut down on the possibility of your card number being stolen and used by criminals.

Cyber Monday is really clicking with shoppers

Sales on rise as consumers become increasingly comfortable buying online

Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images
Cyber Monday was started in 2005 by a retail trade group to encourage Americans to shop online.


updated 11/28/2011 5:32:04 PM ET

NEW YORK — U.S. shoppers seem to be just as enthusiastic about shopping on their computers and smartphones on Cyber Monday as they were about finding deals over the weekend.

Online sales on Cyber Monday, which was started in 2005 by a retail trade group to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, were up mid-afternoon by 15 percent from a year ago, according to data from IBM Benchmark. Meanwhile, sales from mobile devices were up 7.4 percent. The group did not give dollar amounts.

The Cyber Monday numbers point to Americans' growing comfort with using their personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop. Over the past few years, big chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, have been offering more and better incentives like hourly deals and free shipping, to capitalize on that trend. It's important for retailers to make a good showing during the holiday shopping season, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.Story: 'Free' shipping not so free after all

Recipe roundup: Feast on Thanksgiving leftovers

On Monday, offered its bigger, more expensive Kindle DX for $259, or $120 off the regular price. The Express clothing chain was giving 30 percent off and free shipping on all online orders. And Wal-Mart, which has been calling the holiday "Cyber Week" in ads, was offering an LG 47-inch LED TV for $879, or $320 off the regular price.

"Cyber Monday is far more exciting to me than Black Friday," says Jamie Minoso, a 40-year-old English teacher from Alabama. "I do not enjoy the traffic and chaos involved in shopping at a mall."

To be sure, the strong start to Cyber Monday, created by a unit of The National Retail Federation, follows an even stronger kickoff to the holiday shopping season over the weekend. Americans shopped in record numbers, driven by earlier store openings and a push by retailers for online sales.Story: Feds seize 150 websites in counterfeit crackdown

A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year, according to the NRF. And sales on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, rose 7 percent to $11.4 billion, the largest amount ever spent, according to ShopperTrak, which gathers stores' data.

Online sales were strong even over the weekend. Thirty-eight percent of all purchases were made online this year, up from 31 percent to 32 percent last year, says Sherif Mityas, partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney, who believes the increase was due to heavy promotions.

Barneys, for instance, offered 40 percent off on its website on Thanksgiving Day, a day before it began its sales in stores. And Barnes & Noble offered 40 percent to 75 percent off online products, discounts that weren't available in store.Story: Cost to give '12 Days of Christmas' tops $100K

"Retailers are doing a good job of creating more excitement online in ways they can't do in store," Mityas says. "They're creating that excitement of, 'I've got to get that special deal," that is really spurring traffic.'"

It won't be clear how well retailers will ultimately fare on Cyber Monday until Tuesday. But last year, sales on the day topped $1 billion for the first time, making it the heaviest day of online spending ever.

Ahead of this week's "Cyber Monday," the NRF says nearly 80 percent of retailers plan to offer special promotions. And a record 122.9 million of Americans are expected to shop on the day, up from 106.9 million who shopped on "Cyber Monday" last year, according to a survey conducted for

By early afternoon on Monday, traffic was up about 37 percent year-over-year, according to Akamai, an online content delivery company. Akamai says it expects online traffic to peak at about 9 p.m.

Traffic has been up substantially since the Monday before Thanksgiving as retailers promoted online deals earlier than ever, says Lelah Manz, Akamai's chief strategist of commerce.

"There has been a huge volume of promotional activity being driven by daily deal sites, Facebook and other social networking sites," she says.

  1. Video: National Beverage Declares a Special Dividend

Black Friday planner: Shoppers, get your game face on!

I wish i had seen this two days ago. But I didn't. Why do I post it, for those maybe still thinking about shopping. Or thinking about cyber Monday.

Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images file
Last year's scene at a San Diego Best Buy store. Expect similar lines this year.

The most hyped and hectic shopping day of the year is just hours away. If you intend to fight the crowds to grab some bargains, you need to have a plan.

A number of major retailers are opening earlier than ever – moving the start of Black Friday to Thanksgiving. Some have staggered the door-buster sales.

The newspapers are filled with special Black Friday circulars. You can see most of what’s available at sites such as, and

The editors at analyzed these ads and concluded that some products are being offered at all-time low prices – but not all. For example, you’ll find the best prices on toys not on Black Friday, but instead two weeks before Christmas. Dealnews put together a list of 10 things not to buy on Black Friday.

Hate crowds? You might be able to shop from home. While some door-buster deals can only be snagged at the store, most Black Friday specials can be found online. Dealnews found that 70 percent of the deals available at Wal-Mart and Target stores on Thanksgiving last year were also available online for the same price or less.

At least half of all Americans have started their holiday shopping already. The big retailers have taken notice, with some opening their doors Thursday night to kick off Black Friday deals. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.

Let’s go shopping! 

Here’s a rundown of what’s happening at some of the nation’s biggest retailers (in alphabetical order): 

Best Buy: The electronics retailer starts its Thanksgiving Weekend sale at midnight on Friday. To make things easier, they hand out tickets two hours before the store opens. is open on Thanksgiving.
JCPenney: This is the store’s only sale of the year. Prices on hundreds of items (online and in the store) will be reduced for one day only, starting at 6 a.m. on Black Friday. Store employees will hand out holiday buttons that offer the chance to win one of 20 million gifts, including gift cards, merchandise and vacations. This promotion starts on Black Friday and runs through Christmas Eve.
Kmart: The store’s three day sale is the earliest of the bunch and there are three rounds of doorbusters – both in-store and online. Round one is on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the stores and 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. online. Round two goes from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the stores and 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. online. Round three, on Black Friday, runs between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the stores and 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. online. Did you get all that? 

Kohl’s: Things get going Wednesday as 500 Early Bird specials went on sale at The stores open at midnight on Friday. Shoppers get $15 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 they spend in store or online, with no limit during this “Operation: Black Friday” sales event. Kohl’s “Dream Receipts” promotion starts on Friday and runs through Christmas Eve. Every day, one shopper at each store and online will be picked at random and Kohl’s will pick up the tab. No purchase necessary. 

PetSmart: Pet parents will find Black Friday deals online beginning Thanksgiving Day. Some pre-Black Friday items, discounted by as much as 75 percent, are already available online. Retail stores open at 7 a.m. on Friday. 

Sears: The bargain-hunting (both online and in the stores) starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday and continues through 10 p.m. on Black Friday. Sears says it is offering more than a thousand doorbuster deals during its 26-hour sales event broken into two groups. Some go on sale at right away. The rest are available starting at 4 a.m. Black Friday. Check the Sears Thanksgiving and Black Friday circular for a savings pass or online purchase code that gives you an extra 10 percent off when you spend $40 or more on clothing, intimates, sleepwear, accessories, fragrances and cosmetics. “Shop Your Way” members get extra perks for this sale. Check out the deals and door-busters at Friday

Staples: The world’s largest office products company promises savings online and at the store. Early Bird Deals are available on Black Friday from 5 a.m. until noon. Find savings of $200 or more on select HP personal computers with Windows 8. Online orders are shipped for free. A new service this year: you can reserve products online and pick them up at the store, normally within two hours of ordering.
Target: Black Friday starts at 9 p.m. on Thursday. That’s the earliest Target has ever opened on Thanksgiving Day. Also new this year, additional doorbusters will go on sale at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. Shoppers who spend $50 or more on apparel, accessories or home products between 4 a.m. and noon on Friday will get a $10 Target gift card to use on a future purchase. Target says its website will have exclusive discounts starting Thanksgiving Day. 

Toys R Us: The fun starts at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Look for the Thanksgiving weekend circular in newspapers on Thursday. Those sale items will also be posted at You can see some of the deals right now on the company’s Facebook page. The first 200 customers in line when each store opens will receive a free “Great Big Goody Bag” filled with stocking-stuffers and valued at $30. For those who don’t want to give up their Thanksgiving to shop, Toys R Us and Babies R Us will offer a new selection of doorbuster deals at 5 a.m. Friday morning. 

Wal-Mart: The doors open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, two hours earlier than last year. This is just the first of three Black Friday sales at Wal-Mart. The electronics event begins at 10 p.m. and the third wave of door-busters starts at 5 a.m. on Friday and lasts through the weekend. Something else new this year at Wal-Mart: the “1-Hour In-Stock Guarantee” on Thanksgiving night. Customers who are inside the store or in-line between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. are “guaranteed” to get super-low prices on the Apple iPad2, an Emerson 32” TV and LG Blue-ray player. If any of these items sell out before 11 p.m., and the customer pays for it before midnight, the product will be shipped to that Wal-Mart store for pick up before Christmas.

Your iPhone or Android is probably in your pocket no matter where you go, so why not take advantage of it during your shopping trips?'s Rosa Golijan shows you how.

(You can print a simple list of Black Friday 2012 store hours at

If you're ready to begin the holiday shopping blitz, TODAY contributor Elizabeth Mayhew has tips on what to buy this month, including the best deals on electronics you'll find on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as low prices on cookware and kitchen appliances.

More Black Friday Resources
ConsumerMan: How to snag door-buster deals
10 Tips to Bag a Bargain on Black Friday
Black Friday diehards will do just about anything for a bargain
Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart: Who has the best deal?
Tips on how not to bust your budget over the holidays