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BLACK FRIDAY

Black Friday outlook: Stores extend sales, stay closed on Thanksgiving

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best times of the year to get amazing deals on clothing, electronics, homeware and more. Here are four easy ways to make the most of these amazing sales.

BLOOMINGTON — Black Friday this year will bring door-busting deals while leaving shoppers, and employees, to enjoy Thanksgiving Day.

In the not-so-distant past, many stores and malls would open their doors on the holiday, enticing customers to get a jumpstart on Black Friday deals.

"Retailers and malls started opening earlier and earlier ... being open all night," said Stacey Keating, spokesperson for Eastland Mall in Bloomington.

That trend has faded in recent years, with major retailers like Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s, Walmart, J.C. Penney and Best Buy choosing instead to stay closed on Thanksgiving and open as early as 5 or 6 a.m. on Black Friday.

Eastland Mall will follow suit, closing Thursday and reopening on Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Keating said it was important for the mall to make Black Friday deals available to more shoppers, without having to make employees work the holiday or tend to long, overnight checkout lines. 

"Customers don't really like having to line up in the cold in the middle of the night to get a good deal," she added.

Citing studies from the National Retail Federation and Innovating Commerce Serving Communities, Keating said she expects mall sales to increase 6 to 8% this year over 2021.

"We expect a pretty strong Black Friday and Black Friday weekend," she said. 

More shoppers relied on online retailers during the pandemic, and while the NRF says that remains an important part of the shopping scene, it also expects more people to return to stores this year for a "more traditional holiday shopping experience."

Keating agrees, saying she expects a "strong surge in customers returning to brick and mortar stores for their retail holiday shopping."

Considering a homemade Christmas this year? Bloomington yarn store can help

The NRF expects to see a small increase in the number of Black Friday shoppers in stores this year, with 67% of those shopping that day saying they planned to do so in person, up from 64% last year.

Another trend observed by the NRF: consumers starting their shopping earlier in order to spread out their budgets and avoid the stress of holiday shopping. Forty-six percent of shoppers said they would browse or buy before November, according to the NRF.

“The holiday shopping season kicked off earlier this year — a growing trend in recent years — as shoppers are concerned about inflation and availability of products,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz stated in a media report early this month. “Retailers are responding to that demand, as we saw several major scheduled buying events in October. While this may result in some sales being pulled forward, we expect to see continued deals and promotions throughout the remaining months.”

Likewise, the Annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey conducted by ICSC found 75% percent of respondents saying they would start shopping earlier this year in hopes of finding better product availability (48%) and early deals and promotions (43%). The top three gift categories, according to the survey, are gift cards (with 62% planning to buy), apparel/accessories (57%) and toys/games (50%).

Eighty-nine percent of consumers in ICSC's survey were concerned about inflation during this holiday season, and said they would look for brands on sale, shop at retailers that sell lower-priced goods, or do more online research to find better deals. 

Here's a look at some Black Friday hotspots with locations in Bloomington-Normal:

  • Barnes & Noble: Open 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Bath & Body Works: Opens 6 a.m.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: Opens 6 a.m.
  • Best Buy: Opens 5 a.m.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods: Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Farm & Fleet: Open 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • GameStop: Opens 7 a.m.
  • Hobby Lobby: Open 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Home Depot: Open 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Joann Fabric: 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Kohls: Opens at 5 a.m.
  • Lowe's: Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Menards: Opens 6 a.m.
  • Sam's Club: Opens 8 a.m. for Plus members, 10 a.m. for regular members
  • Target: Opens 7 a.m.
  • TJ Maxx: Opens at 7 a.m.
  • Ulta Beauty: Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Walmart: Opens 5 a.m.

The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.

Everything you need to know for Black Friday 2022

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This year’s Black Friday will be similar to last year’s, but many stores are starting their sales earlier and major retailers will be adding additional deals to their websites on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Jon Vincent, founder of EarlyBlackFriday.com and a national expert on Black Friday deals, gives us tips on how to navigate shopping this year.

You can find all of the 2022 Black Friday ads and Cyber Monday deals from your favorite retailers on EarlyBlackFriday.com.

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With so many incentives to shop, it’s tough to predict which bargains will actually be worthwhile. Here are a few tips for this Black Friday.

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What actually makes a Black Friday deal worth pursuing? An item's reduced price, availability and affordability are key elements. Here's what to consider before you buy.

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There’s still going to be plenty of Black Friday shopping (except at outdoors supplier REI) and Cyber Monday tech deals to consider, and retailers are optimistic about holiday sales overall. To that end, we’re offering some guidance for smart shopping on both days and throughout the busy retail season. Have at it. 

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Let’s be honest. A constant barrage of sales for three months is a lot. So make a plan to help yourself navigate and save.

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This holiday shopping season is shaping up to be longer, pricier and in some ways more chaotic than in previous years, which makes it easy to overspend. But there are also opportunities for significant savings if you know where and how to search for them.

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A solid strategy can help you make the most of Cyber Monday without busting your budget. Here's what to do.

Contact D. Jack Alkire at (309)820-3275. 

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