Marleen Newbrough of Cleveland was one of the afternoon shoppers who said she had to drive to Mankato in the past when she wanted to do some Black Friday shopping. The Shopko flier advertising good prices on coats for her grandkids and LED lights drew her out of her house on Thanksgiving, she said.
And actually, Newbrough said it wasn’t much of an inconvenience to have to shop on Thanksgiving. The meal had already been eaten, and the dishes were in the dishwasher when she headed to the store.
On the hill in Mankato, lines had yet to form mid-afternoon outside stores such as Target and Shopko for evening opening times. (The stores stayed open all night and will be open all day today.)
But at Best Buy, Bates and Morris had already been joined by a few other guys even before the noon hour.
“Not only am I giving up my Thanksgiving, I’m giving up my Packers game right now,” said Morris, who wasn’t planning any major purchases at Best Buy when the store opened. “I’m just here for support.”
“This is a true friend right here,” Bates said.
According to national surveys, the Gray Thursday and Black Friday price cuts are necessary to get shoppers into the stores this year. Despite signs that the economy is improving, big store chains like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s don’t expect Americans to have much holiday shopping cheer unless they see bold, red signs that offer huge discounts. As a result, shoppers are seeing big sales events earlier and more often than in previous holiday seasons.
Since the recession began in late 2007, stores have had to offer financially-strapped Americans ever bigger price cuts just to get them into stores. But those discounts eat away at profits.