The second Black Friday of the pandemic is officially underway.
After weeks of early sales, Friday marks the official shopping holiday that Americans expect to bring great deals on an annual basis.
Like last year, more retailers stayed closed on Thanksgiving than in recent years amid the pandemic and are opening early Friday.
At 5 a.m., Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Old Navy, JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods open. Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond follow at 6 a.m. before Target and GameStop openings at 7 a.m. Hours can vary by location. (See the full list of Black Friday store hours here.)
More shoppers are expected to shop in stores Friday than last year, which was considered the quietest Black Friday in 20 years.
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Walmart is one of the only stores opening to shoppers with deals not offered in stores before. At a Walmart in Coral Springs, Florida, more than 100 shoppers line up before doors opened.
For years, Thanksgiving and Black Friday have marked the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season and the time of year when shoppers get focused on holiday spending.
The pandemic finished off what the increase of online shopping started to slash years earlier: in-store-only doorbusters.
Shoppers will find higher prices this Black Friday, fewer discounts
Shoppers are expected to pay on average between 5% to 17% more for toys, clothing, appliances, TVs and others purchases on Black Friday this year compared with last year, according to Aurelien Duthoit, senior sector advisor at Allianz Research.
TVs will see the highest price spikes on average, up 17% from a year ago, according to the research firm. That’s because whatever discounts available will be applied to goods that are already expensive.
Such frustrations could mute sales for the holiday season that are supposed to break records.
The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, predicts holiday sales will increase between 8.5% and 10.5% compared with the 2020 holiday period when shoppers, locked down during the early part of the pandemic, spent their money on pajamas and home goods – mostly online. Holiday sales increased 8.2% in 2020.
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Contributing: Associated Press