Black Friday: Retailers woo shoppers

By Spectrum News Staff,
Last Updated: Friday, November 24, 2017, 10:05 AM EST

Shoppers were out before dawn across Florida and the nation for fun and for deals, as retailers that have had a tough year were hoping to bring customers to their stores and websites for Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

This Black Friday is expected to see 115 million Americans hit the stores, according to the National Retail Federation.

But Black Friday has morphed from a single day when people got up early to score doorbusters into a whole season of deals, so shoppers may feel less need to be out. Some love the excitement, even if they’ve already done some of their shopping online.

Big-box stores like Kohl's, Walmart, Macy's and Target aren't waiting for Friday, either. Many are opening their doors on Thanksgiving: Walmart is opening at 6 p.m., and J.C. Penney is opening its doors at 2 p.m., an hour earlier than last year and at least three hours ahead of some rivals.

Walmart shopper Willetta Lockett said she planned ahead for Thursday night.

"I’m a pro at Black Friday. There is always something that I need. So, I come out before Black Friday. I research the item that I want so that when I come, I come right to that item." Lockett said.

Even though Black Friday marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, the retail federation estimates that 56 percent of Americans have already started buying gifts.

Instead of one-day of deals, stores are offering discounts in-store and online throughout the weekend. The National Retail Federation says about 160 million Americans plan to shop sometime in the five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

"People are spending more, but they are getting much savvier. They are getting more for their money. They are using deals and coupons, they are taking advantage of cash-back offers," Retail-Me-Not's Sara Skirboll said.

Lockett, meanwhile, admits dealing with the crowds is part of the fun for her.

"Oh I love the chaos," she said. "I love seeing people rip open the plastic and grab things — as long as it's done without any violence or anything."

Information from the Associated Press and CNN was used in this report.