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Black Friday Crowds Smaller, But Some Shoppers Still Out To Score Deals

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- This Black Friday, stores have cut back hours and there are plenty of deals online.

But that didn't stop some shoppers from heading to stores for certain items.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, it almost felt like a traditional Black Friday at Cross County Center in Yonkers. It was bustling with shoppers and brimming with holiday spirit, many attracted to the outdoor mall's fresh air and open space.

"We're drawing customers from all over New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. This morning, I spoke to somebody who was from Rockaway," Liz Pollack, of Cross Country Center, told Aiello. "I think the outdoor environment gives people a sense of confidence."

At the Gap, the Gjidija brothers were honoring a fraternal Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping tradition.

"We've been doing it for so many years now. I mean, it's easy to go online and shop and find different things you like, but you don't get that sense of excitement that you get on Black Friday," Din Gjidija said.

The Black Friday discounts were deep, and comfy stuff with a holiday vibe sold fast.

"Fleece, anything that's comfy, cozy, and sweaters, everything, like, holiday themed," Gap store manager Jason Bacchi.

"We have been sanitizing everything throughout the day, and our customers here [are] ready and willing to shop with us," Gap district manager Janine Olivo added.

MORE: Macy's, Other Major Retailers Remain Closed On Thanksgiving As Shoppers Look Ahead To Black Friday

For 2020, Cross Country Center is re-imaging the visit with Santa experience. This year, the big guy will be behind a plastic sheet in a workshop setting, which will explain why Santa's wearing a mask.

Last year at Macy's Herald Square crowds rushed in for a pre-dawn Black Friday start. This year, no early morning madness.

Watch Christina Fan's report -- 

Anita Fritz was shocked to find herself first on line.

"I think because of the virus, a lot of people stayed home," she said.

There were reminders to social distance everywhere you turned. Workers handed out face masks, and shoppers came with the intention of getting in and out quickly.

"The line is moving pretty quick, and we came a little bit early," shopper Vanessa Deguia.

We've only been standing in line for five minutes, and we're almost there," a man added.


Although retailers were hoping for big sales, employees say the small crowds have been a relief.

"People can buy from GameStop, that's great, I would love them to, it pays my bills. But at the end of the day, we need to make sure that we're alive tomorrow to buy more stuff," said employee Sammy Ferber.

In spite of the virus, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to grow over the last year, predicting online and in-person spending could reach $760 billion.

Perhaps the biggest draw this Black Friday was the newly released PS5 and Xbox Series X. All across the country, there were massive lines at GameStops.

Roger Mustafa successfully claimed one of the only two in stock after camping at a Midtown location since Wednesday.

"I was No. 1, numero uno, it was worth it. I'm still smiling," he said.

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