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Local retailers get ready for big shopping weekend

By Staff | Nov 25, 2015

With Black Friday around the corner, retailers are offering big discounts on holiday gift ideas. An estimated 135.8 million shoppers, or 58.7 percent, definitely will or may shop on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation. That is similar to the 61.1 percent who planned to last year, and more than the 55 percent of those who did.

“The importance of Thanksgiving weekend to both retailers and consumers will never change. However, retailers have already given consumers several good reasons to start their holiday shopping earlier,” Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, said via a recent statement.

“We suspect early holiday shoppers could still be on the fence about whether or not to try their hand at finding online and in-store deals Thanksgiving weekend,” he said. “To make it even easier on holiday shoppers this year, we expect retailers will offer exclusive savings each day of the big weekend.”

WalletHub, a personal finance website, reported that holiday spending is expected to reach $630.5 billion. That is an increase of about 3.7 percent, up from the nearly $608 billion spent last year.

The site surveyed thousands of deals from the biggest U.S. retailers. JCPenney and Kohl’s came in as the 2015 best retailers for Black Friday deals, with a 68 percent and 67 percent overall discount rate. In the list of the most popular gift cards for 2015, Visa, Amazon.com and American Express were on top.

“The overall average discount for Black Friday is 40 percent,” WalletHub reported via a prepared statement. “Consumers should aim for this or a greater discount in order to avoid Black Friday traps.

Over 17 percent of items will be more expensive on Black Friday than they currently are on Amazon. Books, movies and music will offer the most value, while jewelry is expected to be the worst deal.

Locally, the Target on Santa Barbara Boulevard has big door busters for early shoppers.

“We have a lot of different TVs,” store manager Joan Connolly said, adding that the televisions are $300 to $400 off. “And something new this year that has been very popular is we have drones.”

Deals are available on Beats headphones, and there are iPads with gift cards.

“We do have 40 percent off all apparel and accessories,” she said.

Target is also offering buy one-get one on select toys.

“We have a huge selection of DVDs for $4 and $6,” Connolly said. “We have a lot.”

Over at the Belk on Surfside Boulevard, boots will be on sale for $19.99.

“We’ll be the only retailer carrying Rampage this year,” store manager Daphne Folsom said.

Other top deals include five-piece luggage sets for $39.99 and Bella kitchen electronics for $19.99, with a $12 mail-in rebate. KitchenAid stand mixers are priced at $299, with a $50 mail-in rebate.

Under Armour fleece tops are 25 percent off, with Under Armour footwear available for all.

“For the whole family,” she said.

“Cosmetics have some specials going on,” Folsom added.

There will be a $10 off coupon available at cosmetics for any $50 or more purchase.

“They’ll have it in the flyer, but we’ll also have copies at the door,” she said.

Connolly reported that headphones, GoPros, iPads and such are typically the big holiday sellers.

“Usually electronics tend to be the most popular thing,” she said.

At Belk, the top buys tend to be more seasonal.

“Typically the boots are a big seller for us and the luggage, especially for this area,” Folsom said. “One good thing for us this year that we did not have last year is brand-name swimwear for women.”

Belk will open at 6 p.m. Thursday and remain open until 10 p.m. on Black Friday.

“At the store opening, we’re giving away gift cards to the first 250 customers,” she said.

Last year, the gift cards were gone in minutes. This year, each store will have a $1,000 winner.

Target will also open at 6 p.m. Thursday and remain open until 11 p.m. Friday.

“I think more people do take advantage of some on the online deals,” Connolly said.

Shoppers can order online and pick up in store, or take advantage of free shipping until Dec. 24.

Additional savings at Target are available. The store offers an app called Cartwheel where users can scan the barcode of an item in the store, then look for and use coupons associated with that item.

“Basically, it’s almost like a pick-your-own coupon app,” she said.

Cartwheel can offer shoppers extra savings on top of the Black Friday deals.

Extra savings can be tapped by using a Target check or credit card.

“Every time you use that, you get 5 percent off everything that you buy,” Connolly said.

Both stores are expecting a high volume of traffic for the holiday weekend.

“We’re hoping to see a large crowd every day,” Folsom said. “Last year was kind of even keel.”

For more information from the National Retail Federation, visit: nrf.com.

Shoppers can also visit: www.belk.com and www.target.com.

Target is at 2430 Santa Barbara Blvd.

Belk is at 2342 Surfside Blvd.