Live updates: Black Friday in Connecticut

Across the state Friday, shoppers woke up from turkey-induced slumber and braved dreary weather as they headed into stores to get a chance at finding good deals.

What to know about Black Friday in Connecticut

2:05 p.m.

On Friday morning at 11 a.m., U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined representatives from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to discuss the warnings of ConnPIRG’s annual “Trouble in Toyland” report. Blumenthal will show toys cited in the report including toy guns, magnets, and other dangerous and deadly toys. For 36 years, the ConnPIRG Education Fund’s “Trouble in Toylandreports have provided parents and gift buyers with a guide to protect children from recalled toys, choking hazards, noisy toys, data security problems and other toy-related dangers.

1:40 p.m.

A handful of shoppers filter in and out of a small gift shop in downtown Trumbull, where staff are setting up Christmas displays ahead of Small Business Saturday.

Pure Poetry, on Madison Avenue, opened at its regular time on Black Friday because it typically gets lines of people on Small Business Saturday, owner Portia Antonio said.

Last year, customers were concerned that there would be a resurgence in COVID-19 case numbers and that shutdowns would keep them from getting their holiday gifts. This year, people are worried about delays from supply chain problems, Antonio said.

Her store is fully stocked, she said, pausing to ring up a pair of customers from out of town.

That’s because she largely stocks the shop from local artists and makers. For example, candles in the store bear labels declaring that they were created in Milford.

“It’s still my biggest and most exciting labor of love,” she said of the store.

12:55 p.m.

Inside Danbury Fair, the corridors and food court were wall-to-wall shoppers, with the mall’s marketing head Pam Wiles saying crowds had been building steadily since 10 a.m. despite the blustery weather outside.

“It wasn’t a surprise to see the parking lot as busy as it was,” Wiles said Friday during the noon hour. “I think people are excited to be back shopping in person. I think they want the option to have things tangible again, the holiday presentation - they love that.”

12:50 p.m.

“We like coming here,” customer Lele Azevedo, a Greenwich resident, said at the Gut Reaction tennis store on Lewis Street. “There’s always something interesting to buy. The service is good and fast. This is our favorite shop in Greenwich.”

Others who stopped by included Greenwich resident Zach Linhart, who was looking at paddle tennis equipment for him and his wife.

“I think they have probably the best selection of tennis and paddle (tennis) stuff in Greenwich,” Linhart said.

Gut Reaction manager Tim Sanford was encouraged by the business from the Azevedos and Linhart, but he said the store did not roll out special deals on Black Friday.

“Our prices are what they should be. They’re not outrageous or anything,” Sanford said. “They’re probably exactly what they are online — or possibly less because I’ve seen stuff going for a lot of money online.”

12:15 p.m.

Rosilene Nazareth is waiting in line to buy a Pandora bracelet at Westfield Trumbull.

The trip to Macy’s went smoothly -- she got some good deals and hasn’t noticed the effects of inflation yet because of the discounts. Just a few dozen feet away, at Pandora, she’s waiting in a long line.

The Bridgeport resident is shopping for a birthday gift for a friend back in Brazil. It’s the girl’s 15th birthday, and Nazareth wants to get her something nice.

“It’s a big deal there, like sweet 16 here,” she said of the occasion.

She’s lived in Connecticut for about three decades and hails from Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil.

Elsewhere, the mall is just as busy. The parking lot is crowded and people cross from store to store, shopping bags swinging at their sides.

A young girl trots out of the Build-A-Bear where there’s a buy-one-get-one-for-$10 deal, her arms cradling her new stuffed animals.

The Apple store is packed, patrons browsing the latest phones.

And outside the JC Penny, Brianna Barragan and her two daughters -- ages 6 and 10 -- take a break. The girls sit on the floor, bags propped in front of their feet.

They started shopping at about 10 a.m. and Barragan said they’ve found some good deals. They decided to come out partly in hopes of offsetting the cost of inflation with Black Friday bargains, she said.

“I think it’s a balance,” she said of the deals.

12:00 p.m.

Near noon at Danbury Fair, the front lot was nearing capacity vehicles continuing to stream in from Route 7 and Interstate 84, many bearing New York plates.

11:53 a.m.

While shoppers were scarce at Westbrook Outlets, it was a different story at Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets. Cars line the breakdown lane on both sides of the highway, waiting to get off at the retail center’s exit.

11:15 a.m.

The Westbrook Outlets were largely empty as of late Friday morning.

10:45 a.m.

Few shoppers are in the heart of downtown Bridgeport.

Rain trickles down the glass of the Arcade Mall’s atrium, and the shops inside appear to be closed. Someone walks about halfway down the entrance hallway and quickly makes a u-turn to head back out.

Meanwhile, about a mile down the road, at the North Park Shopping Center, the parking lot is about three-quarters full. Patrons browse Christmas decor at the Dollar Tree and flip through 25 percent off children’s clothes at the Regine Kids.

10:26 a.m.

Back on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk, cars were beginning to circle the lots at Walmart and the nearby Darinor Plaza anchored by Kohl’s, but traffic was moving on the roadway which can be notorious for traffic jams with a succession of lights and big-box retailers and grocery stores.

10:11 a.m.

Jared Greenman, owner of the Funky Monkey toy store at 86 Greenwich Ave., said Black Friday is all about having products on the shelves.

“We’ve had to really plan and make sure we have inventory in the store going into the holiday season. Hanukkah is early this year - Christmas and Hanukkah are spread out - so we’ve already seen a big spike in sales. So we just need to keep the shelves full with choices for our customers. We don’t do any huge markdowns or deals or anything like that on Black Friday.”

“For the most part, I’d say we’re getting the inventory we ordered. We had to order ahead. Our stock rooms were packed to the ceiling maybe a month or two early this year, just to hedge our bets and make sure we had the supply. We didn’t want to take the risk of going into the holiday season without the proper amount of inventory.”

“We’ve had a banner year across both of our stores (in Greenwich and Greenvale, N.Y.). So it’s just a question of planning and making sure we can meet that demand.”

10:00 a.m.

Matt Seebeck, general manager of the SoNo Collection, said he does not expect the morning drizzle to impact people getting out to shop heading into the afternoon hours. The SoNo Collection will have members of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra performing at select times throughout the weekend, starting at 1 p.m. Friday with a piano concert.

“The Black Friday weekend is very popular, … and starting two weeks before Christmas is where we see a lot of people return,” Seebeck said Friday morning. “We have a lot of great activities throughout the season. … We’re very pleased with how people have returned to in-person shopping.”

8:30 a.m.

It’s almost 8 a.m. in Milford, and the doughy aroma of soft pretzels already hangs in the air at the Connecticut Post Mall.

Most stores have a handful of patrons, and the hallways are getting busier by the minute.

Outside the Target, Jon Lessard rests on a couch, after working the night shift. He stocked shelves from midnight to 7:30 a.m., and when his shift wrapped, he bought a bagful of Magic: The Gathering cards, which he unwraps as people filter out of Target and into the other parts of the mall.

The cards were on sale, Lessard said -- he bought a tin for $10.

The night shift always does the restocking, but the night before Black Friday, Lessard came in early to get ready for the Black Friday shoppers, he said.

Inside Target, a row of TVs near the dressing rooms advertises a Black Friday sale. There are small crowds beginning to form near the TVs and electronics sections -- there’s a cart jam here and there.

A longer-than-normal black ribbon marks the queue to checkout.

Lessard plans to walk through the mall after he rests, although he’s not searching for anything in particular other than a good deal.

“I just want to see what they have,” the West Haven resident said.

7:28 a.m.

Shortly after its 7 a.m. opening, Danbury Fair mall’s parking lot fronting Route 7 was about a third full. Inside, a line was forming outside Apple ahead of the store's 8 a.m opening - one of several stores opening later including Newbury Comics and Kay Jewelers. But several were bustling already including lululemon and Pacsun, where two dozen people waited in line to shop.

Just up Backus Avenue, the Christmas Tree Shops had only a quarter of its cash registers staffed in the 7 a.m. hour, ahead of other nearby stores opening like Barnes & Noble and Ocean State Job Lot.

7:15 a.m.

Shortly after its 7 a.m. opening, Danbury Fair mall’s parking lot fronting Route 7 was about a third full.

6:30 a.m.

In Norwalk, one woman who emerged from Walmart on Connecticut Avenue had a cart full of room décor she was loading into the back of her minivan. But she only needed space for only one more stop before calling it a morning, she added.

In flyers being handed out at the front door, Walmart is featuring a 70-inch Onn. flat screen TV enabled with streaming service Roku for $398, promising each store had at least 10 in stock at the outset of Black Friday. Apple Watch Series 3 GPS devices were on sale for $109, a $90 discount from the regular price at Walmart.

6:05 a.m.

In Bridgeport, a few minutes after opening and over an hour before sunrise, the Bass Pro Shop had a steady stream of shoppers browsing the aisles Friday morning.

Bins full of pajamas, pocket knives and plush throw blankets adorned center aisles. An ATV adorned with a big red bow advertised “EASY PAYMENTS” of $107 per month sat near the back of the store.

And a winter wonderland complete with an “adoption” station with elves stood ready for children to come visit and browse toys ahead of Christmas.

“That one’s on sale, too,” a salesman said to a customer considering a purchase.

With the pavement still glistening from an overnight shower in Norwalk, shoppers hitting Walmart on Main Avenue had to worry about intermittent sprinkles from above, with about a dozen on hand for the store’s 5 a.m. opening on Black Friday.

But with rain picking up slightly an hour later at Walmart on Connecticut Avenue, so was shopping activity as some area residents rolled out of bed before dawn to take advantage of Black Friday deals.

Heading into the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season, retailers were expressing confidence for a swelling turnout throughout the day, despite offering discounts on many sought-for items weeks in advance that some analysts said could blunt the weekend’s receipts.

At Best Buy on Connecticut Avenue barricades were up to maintain lines outside the store, and a winding path of yellow arrows snaking throughout the store inside to steer people to the checkout lane. But as of 5:45 only about two dozen shoppers were perusing the rows of flat-screen TVs and other devices crammed into every corner of the store.

Here’s a list of major retailers and their Friday opening times, according to the website The Black Friday:

Walmart: Opened from 5 a.m.

Best Buy: Open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Online sales started 1 a.m. Thursday.

Target: Open from 7 a.m.

Kohl’s: Open from 5 a.m.

Lowe’s: Open from 6 a.m.

Sam’s Club: Open regular store hours

JCPenney: Open from 5 a.m.

Macy’s: Open from 6 a.m. to midnight.

GameStop: Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Home Depot: Open from 6 a.m.

Costco: Open from 9 a.m.

Ulta: Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Barnes & Noble: Open from 8 a.m.

Old Navy: Open from midnight to midnight

Dollar General: Open from 7 a.m.

Rite Aid: Open from 8 a.m.

Dick’s Sporting Goods: Open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Open from 6 a.m.

Walgreens: Open regular store hours; 203-842-2545; @casoulman