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Shoppers face crowds at Katy Mills for Black Friday deals

November 23, 2018

Throngs of holiday shoppers looking for Black Friday deals cruised the halls of Katy Mills Mall, where some retailers where offering up to 70 percent off already discounted items.

It was 22-year-old Alissa Kirsch’s first time Black Friday shopping as an adult this week. This year, she’s using the day as an opportunity to do some Christmas shopping for others.

“The main thing we got this year is this Kate Spade purse and it was 70 percent off and another 25 percent,” she said with a smile. “I used to do it with my family when I was younger every once in a while. We do not go at midnight or anything.”

She and her boyfriend were going to spend the rest of the morning in the mall making another lap around Katy Mills Mall and then would probably head home.

The mall, which sees roughly about 15 to 20 million shoppers each year, is a staple in the Katy area community and is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation that Simon Property Group expects to finalize within the next year or so, said Sabrina Scruta, director of marketing and business development at Katy Mills.

With 175 stores, which include full-line, outlet stores and kiosk stores, Katy Mills, which opened in 1999, has remained relevant in a world of online shopping, Scruta said.

“Our business is thriving,” she said. “This year we reported our best-ever second quarter and third quarter earnings this year, plus our share price has hit a 52-week high in the past month. Younger generations still to prefer to shop in the mall and 72 percent of Gen Z-ers visit at least once a month.”

Located in Fort Bend County, Katy Mills attracts a giant suburban family client base interested not only shopping, but entertainment as well, Scruta said.

“We’re kind of a one-stop shop for all your family shopping and entertainment needs,” she said. I think that’s why we do really well, because we have something for everyone.”

The mall is the city of Katy’s no. 1 taxpayer with an assessed 2017 value of $125.1 million. That value rose by 5.6 percent from $118.4 million in 2016. In 2015, the assessed value was $121.5 million and in 2014, the assessed value was $120.8 million, according to city financial reports.

Scruta said Black Friday deals began as early as Thanksgiving Day when the mall opened at 6 p.m. The mall again opened to shoppers on Friday at 6 a.m., when Scruta said there was “a rush” of shoppers.

But the narrative has changed a bit, Scruta said, adding that retailers have opened their stores earlier in the week to allow shoppers the ability to browse deals at their leisure.

Fifteen-year-old Madison and her father, Sierra Koteras, 41, were having breakfast in the Katy Mills food court - a break from their shopping Black Friday excursion.

The teen had bags from Abercrombie & Fitch and Forever 21 and was eating an Asian dish, while her father was chewing pizza. The two have been Black Friday shopping together as father/ daughter tradition for five years.

“Black Friday is going down,” the 15-year-old Katy resident said. “Everybody is doing online shopping. Last year we (came out) and we thought we better go early, so we can get the better deals and it was empty. There were no lines.”

Her father agreed.

“Who wants to get out and face all the crowds when you can sit in the comfort of your own home and watch TV and sip coffee and shop that way,” he said

In the span of five years, they’ve noticed a steady trend of shoppers dwindling. It doesn’t kill the tradition for the father-daughter duo.

“For her and me, it’s just fun,” Sierra Koteras. “It’s people watching.”

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