By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The sales are coming. The sales are coming. The after-Thanksgiving sales, commonly referred to as Black Friday, are starting earlier than ever.
Some retailers, like WalMart, will roll out holiday deals before Thanksgiving shoppers have digested their holiday meals or watched the last play of Thursday's trio of NFL games.
In a corporate press release, WalMart chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton said every store will offer a gifts for the entire family sale at 8 p.m. Thursday, and its electronics sale at 10 p.m. Special sales will resume at 5 a.m. Friday and continue throughout the day, Mac Naughton said.
Adam Bindever is the manager of the WalMart Supercenter on West Sixth Avenue in Stillwater. He said he expects large crowds for Thursday night and Friday sales.
“Everyone — Christmas sale veterans and newcomers — will want to get out and see what’s available,” he said.
A shopping survey released last week by the National Retail Federation expects 147 million people to shop Black Friday sales. The survey indicated 71 million planned to shop while 76 million were waiting to see what retailers have in-store for the after-Thanksgiving sales.
“Though the Black Friday tradition is her to stay, there's no question that it has changed in recent years. It’s critical for retail companies to constantly evolve as consumers do, and right now shoppers want great deals, good value and convenience — exactly what we're seeing with this season’s late and early openings, price-matching, layaway and mobile offerings,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shaw said.
Most people still track holiday sales announcements through circulars in newspapers, but more and more people will turn to retailers' websites, emails and social media accounts for sales information.
“The days of waking up on Thanksgiving morning to find out what retailers’ Black Friday promotions will be has transitioned into an ongoing dialogue between companies and their customers starting days in advance, said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. "Through sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, company blogs, emails and mobile apps, consumers can connect with their favorite retailers like never before.”
After-Thanksgiving sales start at midnight Friday for many other national and regional retailers.
Belk, 2040 N. Perkins Road, Old Navy, 605 N. Main, and Best Buy, are among the Stillwater retailers planning to open at midnight.
“This is our first year to open at midnight,” Stillwater Belk manager Marge Nixon said.
She expects a big crowd at midnight. The store will be giving away gift cards to the first 200 people. There will be 199, $250 gift cards and one $1,000 gift card handed out to customers.
“Come one, come all,” Nixon said.
Old Navy Sales and Training Manager T.J. Lowell said the Stillwater retailer will open at midnight, too. It will feature three doorbuster sales. The first from midnight to 4 a.m. Others will follow at 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8 a.m. to noon.
“We are expected to do a certain percentage above what we sold last year. We expect a big crowd,” Lowell said.
Best Buy, 1940 N. Perkins Road, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but opens at midnight for the after-Thanksgiving sales, according to its website. The store will hand out tickets starting two hours prior to the midnight opening.
Best Buy won’t release its full lineup of Black Friday sales until Thanksgiving Day.
Doors open at 6 a.m. at J.C. Penney, 619 N. Perkins Road, for a day full of after-Thanksgiving sales, according to a media release.
Stillwater's Hastings store, 316 N. Main St., will observe its normal hours on Friday.
It will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., but will feature after-Thanksgiving sales, Manager Brandon Scott said.
“It’s my first year here. I’m not sure what to expect," he said.
Other Hastings stores he has managed always drew large holiday-sales crowds.