Black Friday Shoppers Hit the Stores Early

Shoppers leave the Cape Cod Mall at 4 a.m. Friday

HYANNIS –Local retailers saw a boost in business on Black Friday, also known as the busiest shopping day of the year across the country.

That trend continued in Hyannis this year as retailers in the town kicked off the holiday shopping season.

Puritan Clothing, located on Main Street in downtown Hyannis, saw a number of customers on hand throughout the day. Owners Rick and Jim Penn say Black Friday is a big day for all of their Puritan Clothing locations, also found in Chatham, Mashpee and Falmouth.

“No question the day after Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday shopping season. We’re excited. We feel really confident that it’s going to be a successful holiday season and we really look forward to doing what we do on a year-round basis, which is earn a relationship with our customers,” said Rick Penn.

“No question it’s a big media day. The retail stores get a lot of attention in the media, which is great.

Jim says he has the same feelings about Black Friday as his cousin, but adds that he’s also excited to greet the area residents who choose to stop in throughout the busy shopping season, saying “Families gather at Puritan, it’s an annual tradition.”

Rick also announced the company is kicking off its centennial celebration, which will last throughout the holiday season.

“It’s our 100th anniversary in 2019, so all of our stores are decked out with ‘100th Anniversary’ banners and we have new ‘100th Anniversary bags, and we also launched a new website, so I invite you to check out puritancapecod.com to find some new things there as well,” Jim said.

Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year.

That’s according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

At the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, the doors opened at 12:30 a.m. to welcome early shoppers and deal-seekers.

Dozens of cars were in the parking lot by 4 a.m. as people scooped up bargains on electronics and other popular items.

Bob and Ally Donahue were carrying their items back to the parking lot in front of the Best Buy shortly after 4 a.m.

“She wanted a computer and I wanted a TV, so what better time to go than now. We couldn’t sleep anyway, so might as well,” said Bob.

After packing their vehicle with their gifts, both returned to the mall for more shopping.

“Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in decades and take-home wages are up. All of that is reflected in consumers’ buying plans,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“Retailers expect strong demand this year, and are prepared with a wide array of merchandise while offering strong deals and promotions during the busiest and most competitive shopping season of the year,” he said.

Tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect last month, but Shay noted that retailers imported record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs this summer and said any effect on pricing during the holiday season is expected to be minimal.

The consumer survey comes on top of NRF’s annual holiday shopping forecast, which takes into account a variety of economic factors to project overall spending rather than per-consumer spending.

The forecast estimated that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.

Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays – gifts, at $637.67; non-gift holiday items such as food, decorations, flowers and greeting cards, at $215.04; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season, at $154.53.

Holiday shoppers are planning to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores: An equal number (55 percent) will shop online and in department stores while 51 percent will go to discount stores, 44 percent to grocery stores, 33 percent to clothing stores and 24 percent to electronics stores.

The mix of channels was further evident with 50 percent of those shopping online saying they will pick up their purchases in-store.

Of online shoppers who want the package to come to their home or office, 94 percent will take advantage of free shipping, 16 percent will choose expedited shipping and 11 percent will use same-day delivery.

“Retail is a vibrant, dynamic and competitive industry, but one thing is certain – consumers are the winners no matter which day or which way they shop,” said Shay.

The survey found that of those planning to shop during the long holiday weekend 21 percent (34 million) plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, but Black Friday will remain the busiest day with 71 percent (116 million) planning to shop.

Forty-one percent (67 million) are expected to shop on Small Business Saturday, and 78 percent of those say they will do so specifically to support small businesses.

On Sunday, 20 percent (32 million) are expected to shop. The shopping weekend will wrap up on Cyber Monday, when 46 percent (75 million) are expected to take advantage of online bargains.

Of those shopping this year, 65 percent said they are doing so to take advantage of deals and promotions retailers will offer, while 26 percent cited the tradition of shopping over Thanksgiving weekend and 23 percent said it is something to do over the holiday weekend and the same number said it is when they start their holiday shopping.

“While the long weekend always draws shoppers of all ages to take advantage of the irresistible deals and promotions that retailers are offering, we’re seeing a change in how the younger consumers see the weekend.” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said.

“Compared to older generations, younger consumers under the age of 35 are more likely to be attracted by the social aspects of shopping over the weekend or by the fact that it is a family tradition.”

Department stores are popular choices. In fact, they were the top shopping destinations over Thanksgiving weekend in 2017 according to a National Retail Federation survey.

But if you neglect other types of retailers, you could miss out on big savings or a better holiday shopping experience.

To help you make the most of your time and money, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to shop based on past sales and trends. Big-box stores Target, Walmart,and Best Buy are ideal for “the heavy bargain shopper,” says Ana Serafin Smith, senior director of media relations for the NRF.

Big-box stores offer ample door-busters and deals, including TVs, gaming systems, kitchen appliances and Apple products at some of the lowest prices every year.

They often throw in bonus gift cards too.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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