BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Holiday shoppers grabbed their lists and headed out early Friday morning in search of bargains.
Retailers are counting on those shoppers spending lots of money this Christmas season. Such spending could be a further sign that the ailing national economy is well on the road to recovery. And early indicators are quite promising.
JC Penney at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi opened its doors at 4am. And plenty of shoppers showed up for the early bird "door busters."
How much will they spend this year?
"Probably a couple thousand dollars, that'll be it," said Jennifer Brooks of Alabama, "It's a big Christmas for the economy being the way it is."
The Ulrich family from Bay St. Louis had a loaded down buggy. Scott Ulrich said they were finding plenty of bargains on this busy shopping day. He had a cup of coffee in his hand this early morning.
"Oh yeah, that's it. Keeping us going. And they've got hot chocolate," he said.
"We opened at four am and we beat last year's figures the first couple of hours. So, we're real happy with that, real pleased folks are coming out shopping with us," said JC Penney Manager Tony Berutti.
We caught up with Jackie Cooper near the end of a busy bargain hunting morning.
"Plenty of bargains. I've very pleased, yes sir," said the Gulfport resident, "I'm about tired now, I'm ready to go home," she said.
For most shoppers on this Black Friday, it's all about the deep discounts. And the bargain hunters that we talked with were not disappointed.
"We are going to try to spend as little as possible," said another Jackie Cooper, this one from Biloxi, "But it doesn't work out that way. Because the deals are pretty good. It's worth coming out."
Her 13-year-old son, Logan, provided a valuable service; he carried the shopping bags.
Hot items on this year's shopping list include HD televisions, laptop computers, Blu Ray DVD Players and digital cameras.
Retailers are hoping the busy crowds today continue through the weekend.