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Black Friday turnout the ‘best of the last few years’ |

Black Friday turnout the ‘best of the last few years’

It was flashback Black Friday.

Deep discounts, giveaways and the old-fashioned fun of filling shopping carts with shiny new goodies lured Big Apple bargain hunters away from the warm glow of their computer screens and into malls across the city for the traditional post-Thanksgiving carnival of consumerism.


Those among the shopping throngs said the thrill of hitting the stores in person couldn’t be beat — and neither could the prices.

“I like to come out and see the stuff that I buy. I want to touch it, to feel it,” said Alex DeJesus, 37, a superintendent from Jackson Heights who was on a spree at the Queens Mall Target — spending $200 and saving $200 on a haul that included a slow cooker, a virtual-reality headset, Christmas decorations and dog food.

“My bill was cut in half. You can’t beat it!”

Amazon.com has taken a big bite out of the shopping holiday’s crowds in recent years, but Black Friday’s brick-and-mortar turnout was up this year thanks to rising incomes, experts said.

“This is the best Black Friday in three or four years,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners retail research firm. “It’s not quite as robust as the ones of the mid-2000s, but the best of the last few years.”

TVs were the big-ticket items at many malls, with lines snaking out the door at Best Buy stores well into the afternoon, even though the electronics chain had been open since Thursday night.

When it comes to bringing home a TV, you just can’t leave it to the mailman, said one buyer.

“I always get my electronics in person, so I know I’m walking into my house with it in perfect condition,” Zach Cascella, 28, of New Jersey, said as he hauled a 55-inch Samsung 4K TV out of the Garden State Plaza Best Buy.

“I actually think I spent a couple bucks more in-store than ­online.”

Samsung 4Ks were also flying off the shelves at the Target.

“I am very excited. Once I get home, the first thing I am going to do is set it up. I had my turkey yesterday. I’m going to enjoy my TV today,” said Ivan Chiquillo, 26, a server from Elmhurst who saved $120 on a 49-inch version.

“I feel like a little boy with my TV. I will probably cuddle with my TV tonight.”


Ivan ChiquilloBrigitte Stelzer

Chiquillo’s parents bought their own curved 4K, saving $400.

“Do you know what you can do with $400? We have rent coming up and Christmas presents to buy. It’s going to be a big help,” said his mom, Jovita Animas, 40, a pastry chef.

But Target also offered traditional doorbuster deals to lure in-person customers — including a 3-foot teddy bear for $10.

The big plush toys were a big hit, with the retail chain reporting on Friday that it was selling 600 a minute.

Shares of Macy’s and other big retailers rose Friday on the back of the strong shopping turnout.

Tourists and locals alike stormed Macy’s flagship Herald Square store Thursday evening, and the crowds hadn’t eased up by the same time Friday.

“It was crazy,” said Nicole Johnson, 50, a Salvation Army volunteer stationed outside one of the store’s entrances. “You couldn’t even see the sidewalk.”

Coats were a hot seller at Macy’s stores across the country, a company spokeswoman said, but customers were also snapping up Apple Watches and KitchenAid mixers.

“This is the best day of the year . . . for selling standing mixers,” said Jim, a KitchenAid salesman in the Herald Square store, where the iconic appliance was reduced from $349.99 to $179.99.

Others came in just to enjoy the magic of Macy’s on the biggest shopping day of the year.

“Ever since I was a younger kid, my grandma always used to come to this store and buy things . . . The Black Friday deals make it even better,” said Long Islander Michael Tello, 27, a FedEx worker who has been coming to the store on Black Friday for 10 years.

Some tourists said they came just to witness the buying frenzy.

“It’s really exciting. It’s really interesting to watch people,” said Amlie, 27, visiting from Greece.

One Black Friday tradition that didn’t return to Gotham this year was the brawling over bargains — and shoppers said they weren’t feeling particularly nostalgic.

“Best Buy was crowded, but it’s not like the Facebook videos you see,” said Cherry Sookram, 26, who was visiting relatives in Queens from Guyana.

Additional reporting by Tea Kvetenadze and Mackenzie Lowry

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