Black Friday shoppers say crowds seem thinner this year after Thanksgiving openings
Some Chicago area shoppers reported smaller crowds on what typically the biggest shopping day of the season. Anlaysts said the reason may be the increase in online shopping and Thanksgiving Day store openings. (Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune)
Dennis Donati is a fan of Black Friday shopping, braving the crowds every year with his wife to get a start on his holiday buying.
But this year, at Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale, he got something of a reprieve.
"You know what? It doesn't seem as www.officialchargersnflstore.com/Ryan_Carrethers_Jersey_Chargers crowded, except for the checkout lines," he said.
"Half the people went out yesterday, that's why," said Donati, 71, of Roselle. "That's why there are fewer people today. That's why you can move in here."
Hoping to lure consumers in an uncertain economic environment, particularly with six fewer shopping days this year than in 2012, an increasing number of retailers opened on Thanksgiving this year, a day that's traditionally off limits for commerce.
But with anecdotal reports of lighter than average Black Friday traffic, it's unclear whether those early openings will bolster overall holiday sales or if they have merely shifted traffic from what is expected to be the busiest day of the holiday retail season. Official results are expected to be released over the next few days.
Nevertheless, the National Retail Federation predicted Friday that holiday sales will rise 3.9 percent this year. economy was in recession. economic activity, a lean Christmas could have hefty repercussions.
"If the holiday season isn't a good one, it's saying something about consumers' sentiment and their willingness to spend," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Howard Tubin. "It's the biggest purchasing catalyst of the year."
At midmorning Friday, there was plenty of space both inside and outside Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. Shoppers reported few early bird lines and plenty of door busters, with some lamenting that the expanded window had taken a little of the fun out of a holiday tradition.
Looking for people to spritz in Macy's, Sophie Falbo, a fragrance rep for Coty Prestige, said the store's first Thanksgiving opening may have contributed to a lighter Black Friday turnout.
"Traffic is very slow," Falbo said. with her daughter, son, daughter in law and four grandchildren in tow.
She said crowds were smaller and checkout lines easier, but she decried the Thursday start as encroaching on family time and diluting the shopping experience.
"It's a holiday, and why would you interrupt a family holiday for shopping?" asked DiPietro, who now lives in Arizona. Friday with her sister and mother, said she thinks that helped keep the Friday morning crowd smaller.
"We don't take advantage" of Thanksgiving Day shopping, the West Loop resident said, so it makes browsing on Friday morning "nicer for us."
Romero said she expected to spend about $600 on Christmas this year less than last year.
Other shoppers said they planned to keep an eye on their budgets.
Adrian and Elida Cano of Elgin are planning to spend less this year than last.
One item Elida Cano had hoped to buy at Macy's had been on sale the night before but was back to full price by Friday morning, she said she was told. "What's the point of getting up so early?" she said.
Keywords: Black Friday shoppers say crowds