Black Friday

Tariq Zehawi, Tariq Zehawi/

Discount desperados rush stores for Black Friday

November 23, 2018 - 8:38 am

BAYSHORE, N.Y. (1010 WINS/AP) – Many stores were already jam-packed Thursday night into Friday morning with discount desperados despite below-freezing temperatures.

Shoppers who arrived before dawn at the Westfield Mall say they expected crowds, but also good shopping bargains.

Husband and wife April and Ashkan told 1010 WINS’ Drew Scott they got up early but still hit the Black Friday rush.

“There’s a lot of a people around,” Ashkan said; “So crazy,” April added.

In New York City, one woman went straight from a dance club to a department store in the middle of the night, according to the Associated Press. 

Like many people, they’re looking for door-buster deals, and are hoping to snag real bargains on electronics. 

A Walmart even set up crowd-control gates in anticipation of the flood of bargain hunters.

Many shoppers say Black Friday shopping is as much about the spectacle as it is about doorbuster deals.

While Black Friday is increasingly playing out online instead of in lines, many retailers have been making it easier for shoppers at brick and mortar stores.

Walmart, for example, has introduced a digital map on its mobile app to make it easier for shoppers to find the items they’re looking for in stores.

Kohl’s has a new feature on its mobile app that lets customers take photos of products anywhere and find similar items at its department stores.

Other stores, including Walmart, are bringing salespeople right to shoppers with portable checkouts.

Crowds have thinned out at stores in recent years as retailers have extended their Black Friday deals to multiple days or even weeks.

Meanwhile, in cyberspace, retailers are increasingly offering free shipping. Among them is Target, which now has free, two-day shipping for the holidays – with no minimum purchase.

With the jobless rate at a five-decade low of 3.7 percent and consumer confidence at an 18-year high, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December.

Adobe Analytics, which analyzes visits to retail websites, predicts a 15 percent increase in online sales to $124.1 billion for November and December.

The retail economy is tilting steeply toward online shopping. Over the past 12 months, purchases at non-store retailers such as Amazon have jumped 12.1 percent. Meanwhile, sales at traditional department stores have slumped 0.3 percent.

The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, is expecting holiday retail sales in November and December — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — to increase as much as 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $720.89 billion. The sales growth marks a slowdown from last year's 5.3 percent, which was the largest gain since 2010. But the figure is still healthy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.