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Early predictions from a number of industry groups suggest Americans are on track to spend more this holiday season than last — and about 164 million people said they planned to start shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend.
A National Retail Federation survey estimated that consumers will spend, on average, about $1,007 per shopper, which is about 4.1 percent more than last year.
The industry group’s survey dovetails with the results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll which found about 39 percent of Americans planned to take part in Black Friday shopping.
The unofficial holiday has waned in importance in recent years as competitive retailers open earlier, start sales earlier, and as people buy more online. The trend for stores to open on Thanksgiving, however, seems to have tapered off, with some 100 prominent retailers deciding to remain closed on the holiday, according to PwC.
Though it drizzled in Sacramento on Black Friday, many shoppers opted to go to brick and mortar stores after nabbing deals online.
Jillian Rich said she found a good deal on a much-needed lawn mower online Friday morning, but then got dressed and headed to Target on Riverside Blvd. for weekly grocery shopping. Holding her two-year-old daughter Linnea McEwan, clad in blue rain boots, Rich said she would browse the Black Friday deals and look for Christmas gifts while there.
“If I’m looking for something specific, I’ll shop online,” she said. “If I don’t know what I want, I’ll got to brick and mortar (stores).”
A steady stream of shoppers filed into Target Friday morning, and many exited with carts laden with televisions and Christmas decorations.
Debbie Johnson said she did most of her Black Friday shopping online Thursday night and came in to pick up her purchases in store.
“You do have to come in person, though, to get the really good deals,” she said, pointing to a 55 inch flat screen TV her son bought for $199 as a Christmas gift.
Gavin Mitchell, 11, headed to Target with his mother, Emilie, hoping to get a good deal on Overwatch, a video game.
Rather than trying to buy it online, Mitchell said he’d “rather get it now so I can play it now.”
Along the R Street corridor more shoppers braved the weather, umbrellas in hand, as rain hit harder in the afternoon.
West Elm, on the corner of R and 17th Streets, was busier that usual, said Kim Anderson, the store’s general manager. The store, specializing in home goods and furniture, opened early and was holding longer business hours through the weekend in the hopes shoppers would go for deals on “big ticket items” such as bedding, she said.
“We’ve been busy this whole week, actually,” Anderson said. “People want to come sit on the furniture and test it out.”