TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — The turkey is done. Now, the holiday shopping frenzy has started earlier than ever. Some are calling it “Brown Thursday,” as stores began opening ahead of Black Friday.
This is a critical season for most retailers.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the mayhem.
More than 140 million people are expected to shop this holiday weekend. About a quarter of them got started on Thanksgiving.
Fourteen hours in the frigid cold.
“We were planning on coming out here on Wednesday night, but it was just too cold. So we came out at 4 a.m.,” shopper Tania Bautista said.
The line at the Best Buy in Timonium formed in the early hours, as the store joins many retailers opening Thanksgiving Day.
“This year, the consumers wanted it. We’re out here, we’re going to open up at 6 a.m. We’ve got some great deals to be had,” said employee Jeff Dewberry.
The biggest draws — deals on flat screen TVs, tablets and fitness gear.
The parking lot outside the Walmart in Towson was packed early.
“It’s starting to get crazy,” one shopper said.
“The crowd’s already started and the line’s building up,” another told WJZ.
Kmart stores opened all day — with doorbuster deals offered in the morning and at night. Store officials say this season is vital for them.
“We actually have one week less this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas because Thanksgiving was a week later. So this is the kickoff, this is the Super Bowl, if you will,” said Manager Mark Weatherby.
Holiday sales can account for 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for stores. Experts predict a 3.9 percent increase over last year. Analysts say this will be a great season to get a great deal.
“Inventories are pretty high. The consumer is very value conscious. So expect a lot of bargains out there, a lot of sales, a lot of deal making out there to move this inventory,” said economic expert Anirban Basu.
And those deals are being made earlier than ever.
This is certainly a marathon. Many of the stores opened overnight and right through Black Friday.
One thing store managers say they haven’t seen yet — those layaway angels — the people who pay off layaway fees for those in need. They’re hoping that starts soon.
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