Black Friday 2018 Shopping Got a Strong Thanksgiving Day Start

Black Friday shoppers head out to the University Mall

For this year's holidays, traditional retailers are trying to make the in-store experience more appealing because the challenge is to keep shoppers coming into the locations even though long checkout lines turn off many Americans.

Eastwood Mall shoppers did their part on Black Friday, starting out as early as 8 p.m. Thursday and with a brief close at 1 a.m., many returned at the 5 a.m. reopening "Chocolate Rush", where several hundred lucky shoppers received vouchers for gift cards from the mall.

Retailer group The New West End Company, which represents three key shopping streets in central London, predicted the same turnover as 2017, £150 million, across the 2018 Black Friday weekend.

Twenty one-year old Columbia computer science graduates Bhavaya Shahi and Ketakee Nimavat pulled an all-nighter outside Macy's Herald Square store in NY hoping to beat long snaking lines that usually forms in front of popular store.

Consumers almost doubled their online orders that they picked up at stores from Wednesday until Thanksgiving, said Adobe Analytics, which tracks online spending.

The National Retail Federation projects people will spend a little more than $1,000 on average during the holiday shopping season, about $70 more than previous year.

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A National Retail Federation survey estimated that consumers will spend, on average, about $1,007 per shopper, which is about 4.1 percent more than a year ago.

Preliminary data from analytics firm RetailNext showed net sales at brick-and-mortar stores fell 4 to 7 per cent over the two days, while traffic fell 5 to 9 per cent, continuing the trend of recent years.

Black Friday is increasingly an online shopping event, and that's not necessarily a good thing for legacy retailers, some of which found themselves falling behind during America's annual spending spree. Over the past 12 months, purchases at non-store retailers such as Amazon have jumped 12.1 percent.

Online spending is on track to hit US$6.4 billion on Friday, Adobe said. At a Cincinnati mall, Bethany Carrington scored a $29 all-in-one trimmer for her husband's nose hair needs and, for $17, "the biggest Mr. Potato Head I've ever seen".

But some families stick by their Black Friday traditions.

"I saved so much money today", he said pointing to one of his full bags.

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The rest of the mall opened its doors at 6 a.m.

"There was nothing for Black Friday that really appealed to me", said James, who also had run-of-the-mill clementines, deodorant and tights in her shopping cart.

John Scott of Howland, who said he was not a fan of shopping, was waiting outside Macy's for an hour-and-a-half for his wife and granddaughters, noting he had trouble finding a parking spot and already had waited in one 55- minute line. "We are shopping for toys on Amazon this year as well".

But some say the lines weren't like they have been in past years.

Black Friday, a period of heavy discounting which originated as a post-Thanksgiving sale in the United States, has divided retailers in the UK.

"I am nearly done, this is the last stuff I need". I enjoyed the Black Friday shopping experience so far.

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