November 22, 2018

Stores are gearing up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (Tulsa World) »

Nearly every family has one.

And before the last plate is carted from the table to the sink, that shopper will be out the door, wallet in tow, ready for the deals awaiting shoppers this holiday weekend.

An estimated 164 million people are expected to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

Nearly 21 million people are expected to hit the stores on Thursday night.

Black Friday will be the busiest day of the weekend, with 116 million people expected to shop. Cyber Monday is expected to be the second-busiest day, with 75 million people pursuing deals online.

Of those surveyed, 65 percent said they are shopping because of deals and promotions, while 26 percent are following a Thanksgiving tradition.

The country’s largest retailer, Walmart, started planning for the holiday shopping weekend six months in advance and about a week ago started getting inventory in place throughout its stores.

“We get down to the nitty gritty the Monday prior to Thanksgiving,” said Frankie Catlett, manager of the Broken Arrow Walmart Supercenter on Hillside Drive near 209th East Avenue.

The goal is to have about 75 percent of the merchandise set in place by Tuesday evening so Wednesday can be dedicated to food.

“We shift all of our people to food to make sure all of our customers have the items they want for the Thanksgiving Day” meal, he said. “It also allows associates to have a reprieve at some time on Thursday to have a meal with their families.”

Walmart’s Black Friday deals go live in stores at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Walmart stores will have a customer appreciation period from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, when shoppers can enjoy complimentary coffee and cookies and browse the deals before they go live.

New this year will be the positioning of associates throughout the stores with the ability to check out people who are buying only one or two items and don’t want to wait in line for a cashier.

The holiday weekend is also a boon to local merchants.

Oklahoma retailers see 19.1 percent of their annual revenue come in during the holidays, according to a study from software-as-service provider Womply.

Black Friday is the best revenue day of the year, with area retailers generally seeing a 110 percent increase in sales over the average day.

“So many small businesses are locally owned, and it’s really great that people come out and support us just like they do the big box stores,” said Joann Frizell, owner of Boomtown Tees in downtown Tulsa. “I’m grateful for all of our customers who get all their Christmas shopping done on this one weekend.”

The Tulsa-centric T-shirt shop will be selling shirts at 40 percent off from 7 to 10 a.m. on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and 25 percent off from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days.

This is the only weekend of the year the store offers these kinds of discounts, and staff started printing shirts weeks ago in sizes ranging from infant to 4XL.

“We’re like little elves over here printing away,” Frizell said.

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