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by Richard Salit

Warwick, RI — A year after the recession dropped a big bah-humbug on Christmas shopping, and seven months after the raging Pawtuxet River deluged and crippled Warwick Mall, Black Friday brought a flood of shoppers to the restored mall and torrents of hope that this will be a commercially profitable holiday season.

Deal-seekers arrived at the mall in the wee hours of the day for the best bargains. By mid-morning, drivers scavenging for difficult-to-find parking spaces were circling the lot and tailing shoppers as they returned to their cars laden with bags.

“We’re doing really good compared to last year,” Accessory City salesman Aaron Bouchard said as morning customers at his kiosk bought accessories for cell phones and iPods. “I’ve been here almost every Black Friday for the past four years. Last year, it was just like a normal day. Today we’re almost halfway to our [sales] goal already.”

The mall reopened on Aug. 20, and individual stores, once restored and ready for business, reopened in the ensuing weeks and months. By Friday, all but a couple were up and running, with the notable exception of anchor department store Macy’s, whose doors remained covered in plastic. Old Navy’s old space was vacant because the clothing store had moved down the hall, near the food court.

“We’re pretty much fully opened,” said general manager Domenic Schiavone. “It’s certainly nice to see it be a busy mall again.”

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