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Across the country retailers are getting ready for Black Friday – and, continuing a trend in recent years, many aren’t waiting.
Stein Mart in the Center at Deane Hill started some of its Black Friday sales on Monday, and was nearly out of some “doorbuster” deals in short order, Assistant Manager Babs Richardson said.
Doors will be open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday; Stein Mart will be closed on Thanksgiving itself, but on Black Friday the store will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Store Manager Willy Roberts said.
“We have a lot of stuff on sale, but the big thing we’re doing is a ‘golden hanger’ event,” he said. “Whoever finds the golden hanger wins a $500 gift card.”
Stein Mart, which focuses on apparel, is expecting about the same 2018 boost from the official kickoff of Christmas shopping as it got last year, Roberts said.
“Our sales have been pretty comparable so far,” he said.
But this year the company is better positioned to capitalize on the expected surge of shoppers, beefing up inventory and offering better sales, Richardson said.
“Furry vests are hot right now, for both men and women. Furry vests and jackets,” she said.
Small-business software firm Womply analyzed independent retailers’ transactions in 2017, and found – unsurprisingly — that Black Friday is the top shopping day of the year at small businesses in Tennessee. All of the top five sales days, and all three of the top sales weeks, come between Black Friday and the last Saturday before Christmas, according to the company’s research.
Thirty-five percent of people plan to spend more than $500 on holiday shopping this year, up slightly from 33 percent last year, according to research from personal finance website WalletHub.
Some brick-and-mortar stores are opening with holiday deals on Wednesday and staying open right through Thanksgiving, while others plan to open on Thanksgiving itself, or as soon as the clock starts Friday. But online retailer Amazon started its Black Friday specials a week in advance.
Topping the list of Amazon specials are “smart home” gadgets, TVs, tablets and gaming gear; but the company is offering specials in many departments, according to an Amazon news release.
Amazon still holds some price leads, offering about 10 percent of items cheaper than brick-and-mortar retailers’ Black Friday specials, according to WalletHub.
It’s traditional department stores, however, that are offering some of the best Black Friday deals, with Belk and J.C. Penney topping the list, WalletHub announced. Discounts at those stores will average 62.1 percent, according to WalletHub’s research.
This year jewelry offers the best value for bargain-hunters, while computers and phones are among the least impressive deals, the company found.
At electronics retailer Best Buy on Towne & Country Circle, however, the most prominent deals are on “smart home” gadgets, advanced TVs and similar items.
Best Buy will be open normal hours — 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. — on Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday.
The store is offering up to $150 off iPads, sales on various home control devices, $280 off a KitchenAid pro mixer, and an Amazon Echo Show for $99, General Manager Josh Rhoten said.
Best Buy won’t comment on its expectations for the season or release previous sales figures. In addition to home controls, laptops and gaming devices are among this year’s hot items, Rhoten said.
The same deals as are offered in the store are available on Best Buy’s website, with store pickup or home delivery, he said.