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by Brigid Sweeney

Rosemont, IL – By noon on Black Friday, the crowds at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago had thinned as exhausted shoppers completed their overnight blitzes. But lines outside Prada, Tory Burch and Gucci remained a dozen or more deep—filled largely with Chinese tourists.

Zhao Mei, an office worker who lives near Beijing, had been standing outside the Prada store for 20 minutes and was only halfway through the queue, but she didn’t seem concerned.

The wait is “no problem” because “the prices are very good,” she says, adding that she planned to buy at least two handbags for family members back home. Her arms were loaded with purchases from Armani, Tommy Hilfiger and True Religion jeans. She was headed to the Samsonite store next for a new suitcase to cart home her purchases.

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