Target opened at 9 p.m. on Black friday, three hours earlier than last year. Sears, which didn’t open its doors on Thanksgiving last year, opened at 8 p.m. on Thursday through 10 p.m. on Black Friday.
The Huffington Post reports that Toys R Us set to work at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than last year. And scores of other stores such as Macy’s Inc. opened at midnight on Black Friday.
“It’s traditionally been the day after Thanksgiving when the stores go into the black, where they make all their money. But that’s not true anymore,” retail expert Michelle Madhock said.
Some shoppers ever waited in a line outside stores on Thanksgiving Day while a “post-pie shopping frenzy” on store websites drove online sales up more than 18% from last turkey day, says Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce.
“I ate my turkey dinner and came right here,” said a 23-year-old student in New York City who purchased a 50-inch Westinghouse TV for $349 and a Singer sewing machine for $50. “Then I’m going home and eating more.”
Luciana Pendleton pitched a tent outside a Deptford Township, N.J., Best Buy so she could be first in line when the doors open.
“I am just happy I beat my competition. They pulled up here around 3 p.m., and we were already here so I was happy,” she said Monday.
Last year’ Black Friday saw a little too excited sale seekers who turned holiday shopping into a contact sport. In one incident, a woman was accused of unleashing pepper spray on other shoppers in a dash for electronics at Walmart in Los Angeles.
However, this year all the needed measures of security has been undertaken, and Best Buy even participated in training drills to handle the large crowds. More than 147 million people plan to shop this weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.
Shoppers are expected to spend more than $11 billion this Friday. Retailers believe to make about 10 percent of their all-important holiday profits this weekend. And the National Retail Federation predicts sales for the entire holiday season will be four percent higher than last year.
Retail stores are also trying to integrate the online and in-store experience. Target stores use an app that lets customers gain points by simply walking in the store and then directs you to other deals, CBS News reports.
The company also uses an app that lets a customer scan the barcode of some of top-selling toys with further shipment to anywhere in the country for free.
“On Black Friday the store is euphoric… it’s a huge party, this store is teeming with people who are excited to be here. It’s a celebratory atmosphere actually,” said Jerry Storch, CEO of the toy chain. “It’s also just an incredible sea of humanity.”
There are also predictions claiming that about half of the shoppers will buy, while many will just look. Shoppers are predicted to spend $770 on Christmas gifts this year – roughly what was spent last year.