Retailers gear up for holiday sale blitz

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Before the Thanksgiving holiday arrives, retailers across the country are gearing up for brown Thursday.

So what happened to Black Friday? Well, those deals are still there, but retailers are offering deals on Thanksgiving Day to wet the whistle for shoppers who want to get an early start for that perfect gift.

David Rico, store manager of Stage in Minden, said for the last two years his store has been open on Thanksgiving Day and it’s paid off by an increase in sales. And while the store is busy on Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day seems to be the day with the heavy chaos.

“This is our third year in a row opening on Thanksgiving Day,” he said. “It’s been a success the last two years. This is the time of year where our gift items spike. We’re a very big gift store, and we carry gifts year round, but this is the big season for our gifts.”

Rico said when they decided to open on “brown Thursday,” it was really more about keeping up with the competition, and many shoppers are ready when the doors open.

“Last year, they were lined up all the way down to Homer Road,” he said. “One of the plusses of that is it alleviates most of the shopping on Friday. Black Friday has essentially become ‘Black Thursday.’ We’re still busy on Friday, but most of the chaos is actually the evening of Thanksgiving.”

“Cyber Monday” is typically the Monday following Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Many retailers, according to the National Retail Federation, will offer deals and steals online that Monday.

Amanda Rowell, dubbed as the “Black Friday Ninja” offered the following tips to those that will brave the lines and the hustle and bustle of shopping early.

BE PREPARED! Do not go out on this day without knowing what the weather will be like, knowing what you want or where you want to go.

LIST! They are the most important part to making your Black Friday experience successful. You need a list of opening times, map of your plan, a list of the items you are looking to buy and where you will find them and a list of everything you need to take with you so you don’t forget anything.

My sister and I begin preparing the first of October. We have a binder that we use to store everything from ads, our game plan, store opening times and highlights. We feel this is important to stay organized and on track.

If you will be waiting outside for a store to open, make sure to prepare for it with snacks, items to keep you warm/cool, chair, ads and phone.

Dress in layers! Even if it’s cold outside, you will become quite warm in the store when it is filled with hundreds of people. Make sure you can shed some layers to keep comfortable.

If you shop in a group or duo like me, get bright coordinating shirts so you can spot your partner quickly.
n Make friends in line. When you get inside, they will help you and you can help them. I do this every year and will hear my name being yelled across the store because someone I met in line has the item I need.

Keep your eye out for “freebies.” Some stores offer stocking stuffer bags to the first 500 customers, gift cards ranging from $10-$100 to the first 50-100 customers.

TEAMWORK! Exchange money and get what they need at the store where you are and they can do the same for you where they are. A lot of the sales’ opening times are very close together, and you can’t be everywhere at once.

Price match. Yes, Walmart does honor price matching during Black Friday.

I suggest you do not carry a purse. However if you absolutely have to, please follow this rule: Use the child safety belt in the cart to weave throughout your purse straps. Then lock it in place, this makes it harder for someone to snatch it quickly.

Park under lights if possible and take a blanket with you to cover your purchases in the back seat.

Keep all receipts and get gift receipts if offered.

Don’t underestimate the time people will arrive at the store before the sale begins. Do not expect to get to a store an hour before time of sale and have a good spot in line. People will begin lining up hours ahead of time.

Have fun, don’t stress, make memories, make friends, be prepared and if you see someone who knows what they are doing, ask for help.

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