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Black Friday: Well-dressed, weary go to South Coast Plaza for calm

November 25, 2011 |  8:56 am

Black Friday shopping was relatively light at the sprawling South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa
Shopping was relatively light at the sprawling South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, which features many high-end stores, few of which were open early Friday morning.

Roving groups of teens stalked through the halls clad in their mall best: dark-wash skinny jeans, stylish sneakers and fall scarves. The well-dressed outnumbered the disheveled, exhausted bargain-hunters seen at many other Southland malls.

Upper-crust retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales had yet to open their doors around 7:30 a.m.

But long lines stretched in stores such as H&M, where UC Berkeley student Michelle Chow stood studying for an accounting exam, hoping to snag $200 worth of outerwear. The 19-year-old said she had already spent $100 on tops from Gap and Banana Republic.

Others, such as Santa Ana resident Francie Echeverria, were taking a breather.

The 20-year-old was shopping with her sisters, mother and aunt. She said that the group's $1,500 budget is higher than it was during recession-era Black Fridays, and that the women planned to spend the pot mostly on clothes.

"We've been saving since the middle of the year," Echeverria said while resting on a bench before going into Bloomingdales. "We're definitely buying more 'wants' this year."

The crew arrived at South Coast Plaza shortly after 7 a.m., after shopping since midnight at Westminster Mall. The earlier opening hours at many retailers meant the clan was able to spend more time shopping at more stores, Echeverria said. 

"We'll probably be shopping till 10 tonight," she said. "We're going to the Brea Mall after this."


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Black Friday: In Burbank, strategic shopping and some self-made NBA

-- Ricardo Lopez and Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Shoppers at South Coast Plaza during Black Friday last year. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times