Malls ready for holiday shoppers

LAWRENCEVILLE - After all the excitement of Thanksgiving Day is over, the folks at Discover Mills are inviting everyone to come out on Black Friday and get in the Christmas mood.

As part of its "Shop Smarter at Simon Malls" campaign designed to help shoppers "capture the holiday spirit," Discover Mills will open its doors at midnight and stores will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday, giving shoppers an early jump on holiday shopping.

"We are looking to give shoppers the early edge this year - the first opportunity to take advantage of door-buster deals and to secure the hottest holiday gift items," mall marketing director Teresa Via Holloway said.

From midnight to 2 a.m. there will be register-to-win prizes including a $500 shopping spree, a six-person celebration at Medieval Times, a diamond pendant from Zales and tickets to The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller at The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Holloway said the majority of the mall's stores are participating, though a few will not open at midnight. Some "key retailers," she said, will offer significant discounts during certain hours. The Nike Factory Store, for instance, will offer a 20 percent discount from midnight to noon.

Holloway said other Mills properties have opened at midnight, with a great response from the community.

She added that shoppers can enjoy holiday entertainment, including carolers, local choirs, and an early opportunity to have those Christmas photos taken with Santa Claus.

"Our retailers are excited to kick off the holiday season with such a unique offering to our customers," Holloway said.

Despite the economic situation, some retailers still expect a good turnout this shopping season.

"We are still expecting great crowds as shoppers come out to soak in the holiday experience and take advantage of the great deals and diverse number of stores we have to offer," said Kelly Fox, Mall of Georgia marketing director.

Holiday entertainment, gift wrapping and Rejuvenation Stations - soft seating areas where shoppers can relax - will be available at Discover Mills and Gwinnett's other Simon Malls, Gwinnett Place Mall and Mall of Georgia.

Gwinnett Place Mall and Mall of Georgia will not offer midnight shopping, but will also feature special hours for Black Friday and the entire weekend.

For more information, please visit www.simon.com

SideBar: Mall hours

Gwinnett Place Mall

· Friday: 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

· Saturday: 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

· Sunday: 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Mall of Georgia

· Friday: 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

· Saturday: 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.

· Sunday: 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Discover Mills:

· Friday: Midnight until 10 p.m.

· Saturday: 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

· Sunday: Noon until 7 p.m.