While Black Friday sales didn't arouse the same level of fervour in the Illawarra as they did in the US, shoppers were keen to grab a bargain.
There were no night-before queues of people in sleeping bags, and the day started slowly - it was well after 10am before Crown Street Mall was noticeably busy.
But by lunchtime bargain-hunters were out in droves.
The Black Friday sales may have started as an online shopping experience but bricks and mortar retail stores in the Illawarra hope to generate the same level of excitement, after a lean year due to the pandemic.
Briony, 18 and Blake, 18, hit up Wollongong Central to get a head start on their Christmas shopping.
While many think of younger people as online consumers, they said there were pros and cons to both - and were happy to have the option to shop in store now lockdown has lifted.
"I still wasted all my money during COVID on online shopping, but I do enjoy shopping in person," Briony said.
"You know what you're getting, how big it is, and the quality."
The four-day Black Friday sales period kicked off on Friday and will run till November 29.
The National Retailers Association is forecasting $5.6 billion in sales over the weekend, eight per cent higher than last year's discount sales event.
Of that, $3.6 billion is expected to be spent in physical stores.
Wollongong Central marketing manager Holly Howell said there were some special extras in the centre over the weekend.
"Throughout the four-day sales weekend, we'll also have a live DJ, roaming entertainers, a free lolly bar, face painting, cronut decorating and live illustrations by A Little Bite By Grace."
Shoppers who spend $100 in the centre get a turn at the claw machine lucky dip.
Major prizes include a $1000 Wollongong Central Gift Card.
Wollongong Central has extended trading hours to meet the Black Friday Sale demand.
It will open 9am to 5pm Saturday, 9am to 4pm on Sunday and 9am to 5.30pm on Monday.
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