LUMBERTON — While folks enjoy their Thanksgiving feasts and watch as their favorite NFL teams battle on the gridiron, retailers are preparing for their own Super Bowl — Black Friday — traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.
Retailers are using special promotions to get customers in the door for some of the year’s biggest sales to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Chelsea Biggs, manager of Biggs Park Mall, said that several of the mall’s stores — including Belk Department Store, Rue 21, Bath and Body Works, Shoe Show, and Maurice’s — will be opening today at midnight for those who really want to get an early start on Christmas shopping
“We’re hoping for a really busy day,” she said. “All of the stores have really great sales going on, so hopefully everyone will be knocking down the doors to get their sales.”
Department store JCPenney will open its doors at 6 a.m., Friday but its sales run throughout the day until the store closes at 11 p.m., according to store Manager Vickie Britt. She said the store will also be giving out collectible buttons that customers can redeem online for a chance to win prizes, including vacations and gift cards.
“We don’t think our customers should have to stay up late or wake up early to get a great deal,” she said. “ … It’ll be absolutely crazy, but in a good way. The sales will be unbelievable.”
Belk will be giving out gift cards to the first 250 customers to enter the a store. The cards will vary in amounts, with one being worth $1,000, according to James Wayne, Belk’s operation manager.
Game Stop, on Fayetteville Road, will join the group of retailers opening at midnight. The store is featuring a Playstation Vita game system bundle for $199.
Walmart will even get a head start on the midnight madness, with sales beginning at 8 p.m. today — Thanksgiving Day — for the first time.
According to Debbie Wishon, a spokesperson for Walmart, the store will be starting today’s sales at three different times; family and children’s items will go on sale at 8 p.m.; electronics, including a 16GB iPad 2 for $399 that will come with a $75 gift card, will be offered at 10 p.m.; and the official Black Friday sale will begin at 5 a.m. on Friday and will include items throughout the store. Wishon said that sale items are guaranteed for customers who are in line and all of the sales will continue until supplies run out.
“Walmart thinks of Black Friday as a Super Bowl for retailers so with that in mind, we intend to win and we’ve got the products that our customers want and they’ve told us the times they want,” Wishon said. “We expect it to be a great shopping event for our customers.”
Lowe’s will start its sales at 5 a.m. Friday. Store Manager Mackie Singletary said that Black Friday is always exciting because the store is busy and provides a “great experience.”
“We’ve got a lot of deals this year,” he said. “A lot of stuff will be on sale, tools, appliances, hardware, and more.”
Some local own stores are joining the party.
Joe Sugar said his men’s store in St. Pauls will be operating its normal hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but will be offering at least a 20 percent discount on all merchandise.
“It’s always important, but it has dwindled over the years because of the big-box stores and all of their heavy promotions,” Sugar said. “We have been experiencing declines year after year attributable to the big-box store’s heavy promotions and the Internet.”
McNeill’s Jewelers will open two hours early on Friday, at 8 a.m.
“We have some store-wide specials,” owner John McNeill said. “We’re also running specials promotions for our Pandora bracelets and beads for Black Friday.”
McNeill said Black Friday isn’t a huge day for jewelry stores.
“It’s a big day, but in this market it’s never been as it is in some places, the biggest shopping day of the year,” he said. “We find that some people start their shopping at the big-box stores and then head to the malls.
“A lot of the time people will come in and start the shopping process, but the sale isn’t actually started,” he said.
For Tom Taylor, co-owner of the Bargain House, Black Friday is just another day for his store to meet the customer’s needs
“We don’t look at Black Friday as special because we look at every day as a special day for people who come shop with us,” said Taylor, whose store will be open its normal hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We just need people to shop local,” he said. “We just want people to remember their local stores.”
Black Friday was so named because it is the day retailers start turning a profit for the year, and enter into the black.