Shoppers, stores get ready to deal

TUPELO – Between now and Christmas, shoppers can gorge on a plethora of deals that retailers hope will result in plenty of holiday cheer.
But Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and one of the biggest shopping days of the year, is “the” time for many shoppers.
And they won’t be disappointed – all they need to do is look around for the deals.
For example, the Thanksgiving Day edition of the Daily Journal will be stuffed with more than 30 advertising inserts, and other ads inside the pages of the paper will provide more incentives to eager buyers.
“This is the time of year we always wait for,” said Kaitlyn Ferriday, who shops with her sister, Krista. “It’s shopping season.”
The Ferridays will split up their shopping lists, with Kaitlyn going to Best Buy and Krista going to Toys R Us.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales this year to reach more than $447 billion, a 2.3 percent increase over last year. Wells Fargo expects holiday sales to rise 5 percent.
To get a jump on sales, some retailers will open ahead of the Black Friday crush. Sears opens Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to noon, while Old Navy is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Toys R Us opens at 10 p.m.
“I guess I know where I need to be Thursday afternoon,” Krista said.
At midnight, Old Navy will reopen, as will Walmart, except for its electronics department.
Kohl’s is opening at 3 a.m., as is Scruggs Farm, Lawn and Garden Home Improvement Warehouse.
In addition to Black Friday specials, Scruggs will give away 100 $10 gift cards at its opening and $100 gift cards every hour the rest of the day.
“I think we’re going to have a really good weekend,” said owner Mitchell Scruggs. “People have been ready to buy for Christmas.”
The Mall at Barnes Crossing opens at 6 a.m. Friday, although several stores, including JC Penney, will open at 4 a.m.
“We do expect a great day,” said mall Marketing Director Cindy Childs. “We’ve been really busy the last few weeks leading up to now, and it seems people are in a buying mood.”
While the rest of mall is closed Thursday, Sears will offer deals like a 19-inch LCD television for $129 and a diamond pendant for $19.99.
Electronics, as usual, are high on the list for many shoppers. Walmart is selling a $198 laptop and a $69 Blue-ray player. Best Buy is selling a Wii game console with two games for $169.99 and a Nook e-reader for $99.99.
“Too bad I can’t be in two places at once,” said Chris Maddox, who plans to be at Best Buy to buy a 50-inch Panasonic plasma TV for $699.99.
In downtown Tupelo, retailers also are getting in on the Black Friday buzz.
MLM Clothiers co-owner Joe Yarber said the store will have its first-ever Black Friday sale, starting at 8 a.m.
“The downtown merchants decided to get together and do something to attract folks downtown,” he said. “We’ve done some little things here and there in the past, but never together like this. Black Friday is usually a good day for us, and we think this will make it even more special.”
Machelle Pitcock, owner of Ladybug’s Children amp& Maternity store in Tupelo, agrees.
“We wanted to let people have an option to shop locally and shop downtown,” Pitcock said. “People are on this movement of ‘shop local’ and ‘keep it local’ so I think it’s going to be a great day for us in downtown Tupelo. We’re very competitive with what the big box stores are doing and I think people are realizing we have great value.”
Pitcock has two extra employees scheduled to work Friday in anticipation of the bigger crowds and the extra gift wrapping that will be needed.
At Room To Room Furniture, customers won’t pay sales tax on items bought Friday and Saturday.
Like other retailers, owner Lisa Hawkins said people are in a shopping mood.
“I really think the economy has turned the corner,” she said. “It seems everybody is in a more festive mood.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal