WILMINGTON -- It's dubbed Black Friday, but all retailers saw was green. Stores were packed from dawn till dusk with bargain hunters determined to get their hands on that must-have item. From sweaters, to iPods, to flat panel TVs, deeply discounted holiday gifts lured shoppers into stores Friday, some as early as three o'clock in the morning. If there's one motto retailers live by on Black Friday it's this: if you discount it, they will come. And they did. Hordes of shoppers waited for hours to be the first to take advantage of door-buster specials on top of already deep discounts. Independence mall opened at six, but JC Penney opened at four. "I woke up around four and it's my day off. I shouldn't be here." Shoppers Rebecca and Anthony Enoch said, "[We] started out at five this morning at Belk bright and early. Got all the deals, been everywhere, Dick's sporting goods, here, and the mall. There were people everywhere." Best Buy stores began handing out door-buster coupons at three a.m. to people camping out, before opening doors at five. Among the specials, a 60-inch flat-panel TV that normally sells for $7,000 selling for $5,000. Shopper Julie Burke said, "I spent $20 on a tent to save $300 on a laptop. And if you're buying several things like we are, it comes to about $1,500." Early estimates show consumers may have shrugged off concerns of soaring gas and food costs along with the recent slew of toy recalls to take advantage of the markdown frenzy. Friday's sales will make up about 10 percent of overall holiday sales, but it's hard to tell whether today will be an indicator of how the rest of the shopping season will play out.
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