International shoppers swarm Bay area outlet malls for bargains

Early start for Black Friday

TAMPA — With the Thanksgiving leftovers back in the fridge, shoppers flocked to Bay area shopping centers to get a jump start on their Black Friday shopping a day early.
 
As in past years, many retailers opened up on Thanksgiving night to welcome in consumers eager to open their wallets.
 
“It’s exciting!  This is our Super Bowl,” said Sunglass Hut district manager Rudy Esquivel. “This is what you work for all year and today is the day.”
 
Shoppers lined up for deep discounts offered at stores like Michael Kors.
 
“This is definitely the biggest deal ever,” said Erin Altier showing off a brand new purse for her mother.  “This is originally a $400 purse, and it was 80 percent off, so I got it for 80 bucks. That’s amazing for Michael Kors”
 
We found another long line across the hall at the Coach store. Shoppers flocking from, not just across the Bay area, but from around the world.
 
“Everyone knows that the U.S. has a Black Friday going on,” said Sarah Zhang visiting from China. “We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving in China and when we come to the U.S., we get to celebrate the shopping experience.”
 
Retailers say international tourists are often drawn to deep discounts offered at outlet malls in Orlando and Miami. With Tampa Premium Outlets now in their second year, store managers speculate international tourists are making the trek to Tampa to avoid the even bigger lines in Orlando.
 
“We have people from Germany, Switzerland, China, South America…  Everyone is here,” said an enthusiastic Raquel Lopez.
 
Even those working this Thanksgiving say the excitement is contagious.
 
“If you’re in retail, you love it,” said Esquivel. “It’s in your blood!”

(© 2016 WTSP)


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