Retailers expect a decent Black Friday | ParkRecord.com

Retailers expect a decent Black Friday

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Last November, only a few months into the deepest recession in U.S. history, retailers were observably nervous about the kind of Black Friday they’d have. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest day of the year for many businesses.

This year, however, they’re saying they anticipate sleeping soundly when they finally get to bed anyway.

Nancy Gray, general manager at the Tanger Outlet Center, said the mall will offer Midnight Madness sales for the fourth year. Once Thursday becomes Friday, the customer-service office doors will open and offer a plush moose toy to the first 250 visitors.

The moose toy is now offered at every Tanger center nationally, but began in Park City, Gray said. People who come every year will be able to collect the entire family.

Stores will be open as early as 10 p.m. offering sales. Throughout the weekend, various offers will be available during specific time periods for specific stores. Visit http://www. tangeroutlet.com/ midnightmadness/PAR to see details.

Tanger also recommends dressing in layers and bringing plenty of caffeine.

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Patio heaters will be on sidewalks to help shoppers stay warm and Mrs. Fields will be open earlier Thanksgiving night selling hot chocolate and warm cookies, Gray said.

Participation in the Midnight Madness sales has always been good, but this year Gray said the stores are "really getting behind" the specials and special hours.

"Everyone understands people are looking for a really good deal and having fun at midnight," she said.

Gray declined to predict how sales will go this year, but said she’s optimistic and expects improvement over last year. But Tanger’s numbers weren’t as bad as other regional malls last year because the outlet center always has good deals and offers a best-price guarantee, she said adding, "We anticipate an exceptional turnout."

It’s a day that families use to get a lot of holiday shopping done and have a good time together. That isn’t going to change, she said.

"People plan Thanskgiving around their shopping. We saw that a lot last year," Gray added.

Up the street along Landmark Drive, the Walmart will offer Black Friday sales from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Spokeswoman Ashley Hardie declined to offer shopping tips, but said the store will be open 24 hours so there will be no line outside the door before opening.

She also declined to comment on how Black Friday was expected to compare to last year, and said, "No other retailer is as positioned to succeed this holiday season."

Next door at Staples, general manager Bryan Hansen said Black Friday is typically the biggest sales day of the year as crowds come in to take advantage of deals on electronic-gift items like laptops, GPS systems and digital photo frames.

The store will open at 6 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.

"Last year was down a little bit, but this year seems like it’s coming up. I think we’ll have a good year," he said.

Sandy Geldhof, director of the Historic Main Street Business Alliance, said the street doesn’t organize anything special for Black Friday. The shops and restaurants typically don’t open until the rush at stores in Kimball Junction is over.

But Geldhof did say she’s been really impressed at the price points many merchants are offering to draw holiday shoppers especially some of the new boutiques.

She said she’s seen several price tags that would have had an extra zero at a different store.

"People are bringing in price points that are competitive in this environment, especially for the holidays," she said. "That caters to locals and the destination crowd."

She said a lot of the restaurants are also continuing their two-for-one shoulder-season prices for another few weeks to encourage return business.

"They’re being proactive in catering to consumers," she added.

The Historic Main Street Business Alliance is also enticing people to purchase its new gift cards good for shops up and down Main Street by offering a drawing for a $1,000 shopping spree.

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