Vigilant about prices at King of Prussia

Dawn Hill from Plymouth Meeting does some early morning shopping at the Macy's in Center City Philadelphia on Black Friday. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

Inquirer staff writer Maria Panaritis reports:

The crowds were out at King of Prussia Mall this morning. Mall officials say traffic so far is on par with what they saw last year, even though the economy has created an air of caution among shoppers and retailers, alike.

 Mall spokesman Mark Bachus reports that so far things look about as hopping as this time last year. The real proof though will come at the end of the season, he said, when the more important sales tally will show whether shoppers actually spent the kind of money that retailers hope they will.

Number of shoppers, young and old, say they’re being really vigilant about prices. Those who woke up at the wee hours to hit stores offering cut-rate deals on coveted electronics, for example, say that if they end up finding empty shelves, they’re just walking away, instead of picking up a pricier item that wasn’t advertised or isn’t already on their carefully crafted shopping lists.

There are loads of people coarsing through this, one of the nation’s largest and busiest malls. But not everyone is carrying loads of bags, and in fact, it seems that the novelty of early morning “door buster” sales may have worn off a bit with consumers. True, there was a line of people waiting to get into the Apple store here this morning. But over at J.C. Penny, things were different.

The store manager at Penny’s said that even though they opened for the second year at 4 a.m. - making them one of only two stores here to open that early - 50 percent fewer people showed up the first hour, compared to last year.

All in all, retailers are hopeful and shoppers say they’re still in the market for gifts. They just better be affordable.

Read more breaking news in our From The Source blog.