Black Friday shoppers say they’re a little more optimistic this year | ParkRecord.com

Black Friday shoppers say they’re a little more optimistic this year

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Parking lots were full Friday morning as people came to Kimball Junction for Black Friday. Shoppers from as far away as Las Vegas and Montana said visiting the Tanger Outlet Mall is part of their Thanksgiving tradition.

Most reported their shopping habits this year will be influenced far more by their personal finances and family needs than the national economy or the Consumer Confidence Index.

A survey done by the National Retail Federation (NRF) suggests most Americans will spend a little more on holiday shopping this year, but will continue to be cautious. The NRF also believes "many have fundamentally changed their shopping habits."

Individuals caught braving single-digit temperatures at the Junction Friday morning said that is true for them.

Liz Bell from Utah County said she was attracted up to the outlet mall by ads she’d seen and was looking for a deal.

"I’m still focused on the bottom line; I’m still guarded," she said. "The recession taught us to be frugal."

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Michael Fisher from Layton said he’s feeling good about his own finances, but is still conservative in his spending because that could change at any moment. His confidence in the national economy has not yet returned, and his own company’s profits are affected by government regulations. If some new policy is passed, his good fortune could be reversed instantly, he explained.

"We’re in saving mode. We’re still feeling insecure," he added.

Stacy Parry said she’s feeling optimistic about the economy, and the recession hasn’t hurt her family, but she’s still being careful with her purchases.

Ginger Shaffer said she’s been focusing her buying on things she needs.

Parkite Steve Kanten heading into Walmart said he was optimistic about the economy, but if he spends any more this season it will be on charities.

The recession drastically changed his spending habits and he isn’t eager to return to his old ways.

"I don’t have the need to spend on all kinds of things," he explained.

Heidi Simmons of Coalville was working all night at a local retailer. She thinks shoppers are continuing to be cautious. Her colleagues selling children’s clothes were the busiest, suggesting they were prioritizing needs.

"I think people were bargain shopping. If they didn’t find them, they were pickier," she said. "I think people are still cautious I am."

But roughly the same number of people at the outlet mall and the Junction Walmart said they were confident in their own situation and were spending accordingly.

Parkite Steve Mainwaring said he’s retired and doesn’t worry about the economy as much anymore.

"I’ll probably spend more this year because there is stuff I need to get," he explained.

Holly Eberly at Tanger said she’s cognizant about the economy, but her family has not been affected negatively; she hasn’t let it influence her shopping habits.

Justin Smith said he’s feeling better about his personal finances this year and plans to spend a little more.

Noel Smith and Ashlee Mora both said they have new jobs this year and plan to spend more because they can.

According to a press release, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said he believes most Americans are feeling the worst is behind them, but "will still shop with the economy in the back of their minds."

Sgt. Ron Bridge with the Summit County Sheriff’s office said he saw about the same size of crowd as last year and there were no incidents at any of the shopping centers.

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