HOUSTON – Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day shopping was a hit at several Houston-area locations. The National Retail Federation predicts 164 million people in the U.S. will take part in the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, and 116 million are expected to shop on the busiest of the five-day period -- Black Friday.
Stores including Best Buy, the Houston Galleria, Walmart and Target were packed with people, but the place to be was the Houston Premium Outlets in Cypress.
Shoppers flocked to the area in such quantity Thursday night, they had to be shuttled to and from a nearby church because the mall ran out of parking spots.
Business insiders predict that Cyber Monday may not be as impressive as previous years.
Crowds thinned overnight while some stores restocked and weary shoppers gave themselves and their wallets a break, but they picked back up again as stores started reopening at 6 a.m. for a new wave of shoppers.
While the Black Friday discounts at most stores are good all day Friday, some retailers are offering bigger perks to shoppers who come out early.
The line to get into the Tory Burch store remained long, with a wait of over two hours to get inside. Once in the store, everything is 50 percent off. Shoppers get 70 percent off at Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
The outlets will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday.
At The Woodlands Mall, thousands of shoppers packed the parking lots, some parking in nearby lots for businesses closed for the holiday.
Many retailers sported 50 percent off sales on retail clothing among other goods.
"I'm having a great time. I'm spending all of my husband's money," Tonda Rentfro, who came from Spring to the JC Penney at The Woodlands Mall, said.
Despite Thursday's long lines, many shoppers woke up just to do it all again.
"I've been shopping since yesterday, so yeah, I've gone back home and restocked," Ivone Sanchez, who was looking at sales on sweaters at JC Penney, said.
Other shoppers felt more for those behind the counter.
"I hope they keep up their stamina," Lorraine Rice said.
Many expressed delight at the Black Friday deals at The Woodlands Mall.
"Right now, I feel like I'm getting the best deals right now," Rentfro said.
However, some still prefer convenience.
"Cyber Monday, you can do it from your bed or your couch," Chris Rivas said.
Rivas, though, was one of many who ended up finding something while out and about.
"Coming with [my friends], they're a bad influence, so I ended getting something anyway," Rivas said, holding up a dress shirt that he got for more than 30 percent off.