Black Friday shopping expands to Thursday

Emelie Knobloch

According to the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend shopping survey, 140 million people plan to shop over the Black Friday weekend.

This is a slight decrease from the 147 million that participated last year.

“There are hundreds usually waiting at the door,” said Bill Gier, general manager of the Ames Kmart. “There are probably thousands by the end of the event.”

The survey also revealed that 33 million, or 23. 5 percent of people, plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

“Our big-ticket item is probably our televisions,” Gier said. “We have some really good deals that day.”

More than half of all retailers are planning to start their Thanksgiving weekend with online promotions at least five days before the holiday weekend, according to the survey.

Stores such as Target, Walmart and Best Buy began their online sales last week.

“From a business perspective, the Black Friday events are pretty effective,” Gier said. “Thursday is starting to become the bigger event than the rest of the weekend.”

Accenture’s annual holiday shopping survey reported U.S. consumers intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts this holiday season. This is an 11 percent increase from 2012.

“Black Friday is the kickoff to the holiday season, “ said Stephanie Leonard, store leader at J.C. Penney. “As a business, you need to win on Black Friday to win the holiday season.”

Accenture’s survey also found that 62 percent of people surveyed would not be persuaded to make a purchase unless the item had a 30 percent discount or higher.

“We have a lot of door-busters to bring the traffic into our store,” Leonard said. “Customers mainly aim for the small appliances and jeans.”

Many stores at North Grand Mall in Ames will be participating in the Black Friday events this year.

“We have a lot of organization and management put in place for Black Friday to ensure it goes smoothly, “ Leonard said.

American Eagle, Buckle, Claire’s, Express, Foot Locker, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Maurices, Radio Shack, rue21, Sports Page, Strawberry Patch, Tradehome Shoes, Vicoria’s Secret and Younkers will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28.

“Black Friday has long been a shopping experience for families and friends because they haven’t yet gone to bed so they come to North Grand Mall to shop at midnight,” said Lori Bosley, general manager for the mall.

AT&T, Christopher Banks, CJ Banks, GNC, Mastercuts, Milroy’s Tuxedos, Payless Shoes, Riddle’s Jewelry and Vanity open at midnight Friday, Nov. 29.

“Shoppers will be seeking specials on items such as the Keurig coffee brewer at J.C. Penney, Younkers and Kohl’s as well as clothing at Buckle, Vanity, rue21, Payless Shoe Source and Maurices,” Bosley said.

Kay Jeweler’s and TJMaxx will be opening at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29.

Shoe Carnival will be open 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28. They will be closing at midnight and reopening at 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29.