GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Folks got up early or never went to bed to be the first to snatch up gifts at deep discounts. Over at Premium Outlets in Gulfport, officials say the retail industry is starting to bounce back from the sluggish economy.
Clerks at the Reebok Outlet store in Gulfport were busy midmorning Friday. However, is wasn't even close to the rush of customers when the store first opened.
Assistant Manager Ashley Bieller said, "It was crazy. They were trying to get in the door because we couldn't even get in the door ourselves."
Shoppers, many of whom had awakened at the crack of dawn, darted from store to store carrying shopping bags. Some people said they came for the bargain prices. Others just wanted to get caught up in the excitement of Black Friday.
"I guess just the rush of everything,"said Morgan Brown of Byrum. "Everybody is out and shopping. I like it."
Janice Jeantreau of Brandon said, "We're finding great deals this year. Fifty percent off of a lot of stuff and great deals."
Many businesses have seen a slow down in holiday spending in the last few years because of the economy, but some retailers see that trend turning around.
"I've noticed a drastic difference in traffic and the amount of money that people are willing to come out and spend," said Bieller. "I think that it's really improving. I think that it's getting a lot better."
She continued, "We talk to other stores and everyone has really good team spirit here. We help each other out with our coupons and our deals, so I think next year will be even better."
Trumekia Sloan was town from Atlanta visiting relatives and doing a little Christmas shopping. Sloan said she's not concerned about spending too much this year.
"I'm just getting whatever I see. When I get up to the register, it's a really good price, so I'm just going for it. Whatever I see, I'm getting it," said Sloan. "I think people will spend more. I really do because it seems like all the stores are more organized than they were the year before. They know how the economy is so they're marking things way down. "
Officials at Premium Outlets said they decided to stagger the times for store openings to keep the crowd size from being overwhelming.