Black Friday got off to a flying
start in stores and online with shoppers jumping at the bargains offered
by retailers unwilling to miss the early stampede for deals.
shoppers lined up 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. The "IBM Benchmark" tracks the websites of more than
500 leading U.S. retailers.
was one of the many people surfing the Web on their phones after
Thanksgiving dinner. "My mom yelled at me for having my phone out at
the dinner table," says Henderson, 38.
To compete with online
retailers, brick-and-mortar stores tried to make shopping as convenient
as possible for consumers; many opened earlier Thanksgiving night to
draw in shoppers who were unwilling to wait until midnight or the
early-morning hours on Friday.
This year, Toys R Us opened at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than last
year. Sears, which didn't open on Thanksgiving last year, also opened
at 8 p.m. Target opened at 9 p.m., three hours earlier than last year.
Many of the shoppers that came out Thursday had to alter their Thanksgiving dinner plans to accommodate their shopping plans.
Dixon, 55, got to Toys R Us in Bailey's Crossroads, near Falls Church,
Va., at 1 p.m. so she could be first in line for the Black Friday sales.
Her family was waiting until she returned home to start Thanksgiving.
"My turkey and everything's going to be there when I get home," Dixon says.
She's hoping to score a scooter, books, board games and Xbox games for her grandchildren.
Cook brought her daughters, Sonia and Sabia Mughal, to get in line at
Toys R Us at 2 p.m. They had Thanksgiving early so they could
accommodate their shopping.
"We did it last year, but it's moving
back," she says. Last year, Toys R Us opened at 9 p.m. On the shopping
list: an MP3 player.
A short line of shoppers was waiting outside Michael's Crafts store
in Palm Springs, Calif., when it opened at 4 p.m., PT Thursday. Shanna
Hamilton of Palm Springs ate her Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m., left 4
friends at her home for a few minutes as she ran out to get a deal on
the yarn she needed to finish making quilts for her family.
told them I'd be right back," the 61-year-old said, and they understood
when she explained that she had a 30 percent off coupon. "I'd get up off
my death bed for a coupon," she said with a laugh.
Garcia, 20, was sitting on a camping chair outside the Best Buy store in
Palm Desert, Calif., as his family ate Thanksgiving dinner Thursday
evening. Missing the family meal was worth it to get a deal on a gift
for his sister, the Palm Desert resident said. "They'll send me a
plate," he said.
The shoppers that came out Thursday ran the gamut from first time Black Friday newbies to seasoned veterans.
At a Walmart in Chantilly, Va., Dan Ziewlinski was having his first
Black Friday shopping experience and said it was a little overwhelming.
He brought his son, Jack, 11, to help him score a 32" Emerson TV for
"It's a surprise," says Ziewlinski, 47, covering Jack's
ears. The two headed over to Walmart after cleaning up Thanksgiving
dinner. They decided to buy the TV and an iPad 2.
Gulakowski has shopped Black Friday sales with her sister Chris McLellan
for the past twelve years. "Since the kids showed up, it's a
tradition," says Gulakowski.
They say they're big fans of
Walmart's one-hour in store guaranteed deals, like the
iPad-2-plus-$75-gift-card deal they hope to score at the Chantilly
"We drew the line at camping out," says Gulakowski. "But $100 dollars off is $100 dollars off," says McLellan.
Templeton and her two sons joined forces with neighbors and family to
form a shopping team in Bossier City, La. Templeton described the scene
at a Sears Thursday night as chaos. She went looking for a 50-inch
Toshiba television on sale for $300 but came up empty-handed.
Most of her team is after televisions. "The deals aren't as good online," she said. "I mean, you can save hundreds."
Not everyone is thrilled with the earlier store openings on Thanksgiving as several retail employee groups are protesting the change.
Employees of retailers including Target, Walmart and Toys R Us have started or signed petitions on Change.org for Thanksgiving day off.
New York City-based, union-backed group of retail workers called Retail
Action Project planned protests on Thanksgiving in front of several
stores, including Ann Taylor, Forever 21 and others that were opening at
midnight on Black Friday and earlier.
"It shows that the
companies are not valuing their workers. They're looking to their
workers to squeeze out more profits," said Carrie Gleason, director of
Retail Action Project.
The holiday shopping season is crucial for
retailers and the National Retail Federation estimates that holiday
sales will rise 4.1% to $586.1 billion this year.
"This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession," NRF CEO Mathew Shay said in a statement.
day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because it 's when
retailers traditionally get out of the red and turn a profit for the
year.The NRF estimates that up to 147 million shoppers will visit stores
and shop online over the Black Friday weekend.