Southwest Ohio shoppers flocked to area retail centers on Thursday night and Friday, filling shopping carts and parking lots as they snapped up "Black Friday" deals at the start of the holiday gift-buying season.

Southwest Ohio shoppers flocked to area retail centers on Thursday night and Friday, filling shopping carts and parking lots as they snapped up “Black Friday” deals at the start of the holiday gift-buying season.

The Dayton Mall in Miamisburg had more than 23,000 shoppers come through its doors from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, compared to 16,000 total on Wednesday, which was an average day, said Dave Duebber, general manager. The large crowds started picking up again about 9:30 a.m. Friday and increased steadily throughout the day, he said.

Dayton Mall stores were doing anticipated business, if not better, Duebber said. “From all indications, it has been another very successful Black Friday,” he said.

The National Retail Federation expected about 97 million people to shop on Friday, making it the biggest shopping day of the year.

Customer traffic at The Greene Town Center from 8 p.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Friday was up nearly 15 percent from last year, when most stores didn’t open until midnight, said Steve Willshaw, general manager.

“We are very encouraged. The crowds have been wonderful and the merchants are happy,” he said.

The Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek also reported strong Black Friday business. The mall’s 5,500-space parking lot was full both Thursday night and Friday afternoon, said Kristie Miller, marketing director.

Cincinnati Premium Outlets in Monroe stayed consistently busy Thursday night and Friday, with lines to get into some stores, as well as lines inside to check out, said Alaina Norbeck, director of marketing and business development.

“We are seeing customers with shopping bags from multiple retailers, so it looks like they are coming out not just for one item, but to really get some serious shopping done,” Norbeck said.

The Upper Valley Mall in Springfield also saw good Black Friday traffic, said Brenda LaBonte, the mall’s manager. LaBonte surveyed four mall merchants; two were meeting sales projections and two were “extremely happy,” she said.

None of the shopping centers reported problems with vehicle traffic or customers. Shoppers “are very focused and all in good spirits,” Norbeck said.

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©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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