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Black Friday frenzy off to smooth start in South Florida

Shoppers looking for big deals on holiday gifts

SWEETWATER, Fla. – One of the busiest shopping days of the year is underway, as thousands of shoppers in South Florida are taking advantage of Black Friday deals.

"I flew 20 hours from New Zealand to cash in on the great deals," said Alice Broomfield.

Dozens of stores at Dolphin Mall opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day, giving bargain buyers the opportunity to take advantage of deep discounts.

"I ate some turkey and went straight to the mall," said Sonia Jones.

Despite the increased foot traffic, the atmosphere was calm.

Some of the best deals may be a click away; many shoppers are turning to the web, instead of traditional shopping.

"I've definitely seen fewer customers this year, " said Tori Jones, a manager who runs a clothing store at Dolphin Mall.

Sawgrass Mills opened its doors Thursday at 6 p.m. and stayed open for 27 hours. Shoppers flocked to stores like Brandsmart USA, Samsung, and Burberry hoping to snag some deals.

Regional marketing director Joellyn Fellmeth said the mall decided to open early because of the high demand of shoppers. The mall has more than 300 retail shops and some stores had sales as low as 70 percent off everything.

The mall closes at 9:30 Friday and will resume regular hours starting Saturday.