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Biz Buzz: Stores to open early Black Friday

Many will continue the new trend of staying closed on Thanksgiving and are offering both early deals and extending Black Friday well past Nov. 25.

Shoppers line up at the Baxer Target store for the Black Friday opening in 2016. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch
Shoppers line up at the Baxer Target store for the Black Friday opening in 2016. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch
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The traditional start to the holiday shopping season is just hours away as retailers hope to attract Black Friday shoppers with deals and the time-honored experience of the retail hunt.

“The shape of the holiday season will look different this year, with early discounting in October pulling up spending that would have occurred around Cyber Week,” reported Patrick Brown, Adobe vice president. “Even though we expect to see single-digit growth online this season, it is notable that consumers have already spent over $590 billion online this year at 8.9% growth, highlighting the resiliency of e-commerce demand.”

Adobe reported Cyber Monday will remain the season’s and the year’s biggest shopping day with $11.2 billion in spending, an increase of 5.1% compared to 2021. Adobe reports Black Friday online sales are expected to grow by 1% at $9 billion while it predicted Thanksgiving sales will fall to $5.1 billion, down 1% compared to 2021.

“These major shopping days are losing prominence as e-commerce becomes a more ubiquitous daily activity, and as consumers see discounts continuing throughout the full season,” Adobe stated, noting discounts are expected to hit record highs for some items — particularly electronics, toys and computers.

Black Friday deals, in many cases, are already in full swing. The Black Friday experience has evolved as the pandemic fueled a shift in shopping habits and helped extend Black Friday beyond a day or a weekend to a host of options for holiday deals in November and December. Retailers continue to note their moves to provide curbside pickup, home delivery, same-day pickup and online purchasing.

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“While some Black Friday shoppers have loved the hustle and bustle of shopping for doorbusters in a busy store, many people now prefer to shop for deals online,” Best Buy reported on its website. “Skip the lines and shop Black Friday 2022 from your computer, phone or tablet. If you’re connected to the internet, you can shop pretty much all the same Black Friday Deals online as you would in a physical Best Buy store from the comfort of your home.”

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For others, there is something about being in the crowd while grabbing the discounted item on the shopping list. Retailers are also providing incentives for in-store shopping as well or pointing customers to membership deals.

Membership at Best Buy unlocked early access to Black Friday deals, more than a week before Thanksgiving. For all customers, Best Buy noted access to thousands of deals began last Sunday. Forbes recently reported customers were shopping earlier this year partly because of inflation concerns as they wanted to get “ahead of tight wallets and spread the financial strain across more paychecks.”

Last year, consumers started shopping early to get ahead of supply chain woes and make sure they would receive orders in time. Online sales are expected to continue to grow, with Adobe predicting a 2.5% increase this season with U.S. online holiday sales hitting $209.7 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

Friday store openings, deals and trends

What is continuing this year is a move to open early Friday morning and keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day. Prior to the pandemic, there was a rush to open earlier and earlier until competing stores were open before the turkey was even on the table for a noon family meal. But a pushback also had a growing list of retailers choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving. The coronavirus pandemic altered the landscape with stores now routinely closed on the holiday and opening early Friday in a return to what the day was like years ago.

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Best Buy is opening at 5 a.m. Friday. On its online gift ideas page are options to shop by category, shop by age group or relationship — be it teens or gifts for grandparents — and by price or popular gift lists to spur ideas.

Walmart is offering Black Friday deals for days with filters for price, brand, speed, customer rating and more. Hot holiday toy wishlists come organized by age groups and featured brands, like Marvel or Hot Wheels. Black Friday deals include a 50-inch LED smart TV for $148 or second generation Apple AirPods with a charging case for $79.

Walmart is launching a new giving campaign between Nov. 25-Dec. 25 as customers can round up purchases and donate to a favorite charity while shopping online and on the Walmart app. Walmart will then match contributions up to $1 million as part of its Spark Good Round Up campaign. Walmart reported it is awarding up to 3,000 nonprofits a $1,000 grant when they receive 20 or more Spark Good Round Up donations as an extra incentive, pushing the total contribution up to $3 million.

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Retailers are also pointing to incentives, free options and benefits of using their apps for increased convenience and a better shopping experience.

“For the most seamless Black Friday shopping experience, download The Home Depot product locator app,” Home Depot reported, noting the app displays a map of the store with the exact aisle notes and whether the item is on the shelf or in current inventory. “... The app is a great way to prepare for Black Friday and find items on your list faster with less hassle.”

In October, Target announced an expanded collaboration with Apple in time for the holidays. Members of Target Circle have access to a four-month free trial of Apple Fitness+ without a requirement for a purchase.

“For years, Target has been a destination for Apple products. Now we are excited to deepen our collaboration with Apple so even more guests can access the exceptional Apple at Target shop-in-shop experience,” Target reported in a news release.

Recently, Target announced its Black Friday week sale started Sunday and will continue through Nov. 26 both online and in stores.

“The top deals include some of the retailer’s best planned prices of the season — up to 50% off electronics, toys and video games, kitchen appliances, new and trending gifts, everyday essentials and more,” Target reported. “The savings will continue Nov. 27-28 with a two-day Cyber event featuring hundreds of thousands more deals exclusively on Target.com and the Target app.”

Top deals include 40% off LEGO and deals on Xbox, smart TVs, Beats headphones, an air fryer, KitchenAid stand mixer, and vacuums — including the iRobot Roomba.

At Costco early Black Friday sales started Nov. 14 and will continue through Nov. 28 with an online only savings start on Thanksgiving. A host of items from technology to furniture and clothing and jewelry is listed online.

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These major shopping days are losing prominence as e-commerce becomes a more ubiquitous daily activity ...
Adobe

Fleet Farm, which notes it has been closed on Thanksgiving for more than 65 years so its employees have time with family and friends, will open at 5 a.m. Friday and is offering a free plush toy to the first 500 customers. Customers will have online access to deals beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday and continuing online Thanksgiving day. Other deals are available in store only, like National Geographic STEM kits.

Kohl’s will also be closed on Thanksgiving and reopen at 5 a.m. Friday. Black Friday deals are already ongoing and will continue through Friday. As an incentive to shop in stores, Kohl’s is offering a chance to win one of hundreds of prizes totaling over $1 million with no purchase necessary. Other deals include discounts, coupons and Kohl’s cash. Kohl’s also packs and ships Amazon returns for free.

Ace Hardware, which reports opening 130 new stores in 2022 and plans 40 more before year’s end, is among retailers offering new deals daily as part of its holiday countdown with Black Friday deals beginning last week and extending through Nov. 30.

Santa will be at the Westgate Mall for photos and visits on weekends starting Dec. 3.

In addition to the traditional big box retailers, there are multiple options for gift buying from local small businesses, which will be highlighted as part of Small Business Saturday.

For those who would rather sit out this first opening round of holiday shopping, there will no doubt be numerous discounts for gift buying throughout the holiday season.

“Tough economic times mean people won’t be spending as much,” Forbes reported in October in an outlook at the holiday shopping season. “In the U.S., holiday gift spending is expected to drop by $30 billion as 58% of consumers cut back on non-food spending during the holidays. The biggest drops could come in clothing and footwear, with 25% of people expected to cut back in those areas.

“However, despite these less-than-stellar predictions, many retailers are still optimistic that customers will be back and ready to spend this holiday season.”

Opening hours for Black Friday

  • Ace Hardware — 7:30 a.m. Friday.
  • Best Buy — 5 a.m. Friday.
  • Costco — 9 a.m. Friday.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods — 6 a.m. Friday. 
  • Dunham’s — 5 a.m. Friday. 
  • Fleet Farm — 5 a.m. Friday.
  • GameStop — 7 a.m. Friday 
  • Home Depot — 6 a.m. Friday. 
  • Kohl’s — 5 a.m. 
  • Target — 7 a.m. Friday. 
  • T.J. Maxx — 7 a.m. Friday. 
  • Menards — 6 a.m. Friday. 
  • Walmart — 6 a.m. Friday. 
  • Westgate Mall — 6 a.m. Friday.

RENEE RICHARDSON, Brainerd Dispatch managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz .

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESSBIZ BUZZRETAIL
Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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