Holiday shoppers are already hitting store as the “Super Bowl” retail week approaches. Shoppers check out at the Centerville Kohl’s. STAFF PHOTO / HOLLY SHIVELY
Photo: Holly Shively
Photo: Holly Shively

Shoppers plan to start Thanksgiving rush early today

Instead of taking a nap following the Thanksgiving meal, more people are expected than previous years to put on their walking shoes today and go shopping for deals.

About 39.6 million people — a 24% increase from last year — are expected to shop today, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

Meijer opens at 6 a.m. today, J.C. Penney will follow at 2 p.m. and dozens of other area retailers launch sales this evening. While many of the deals are already live online, thousands of area shoppers are expected to head to stores today.

“People still in some respects enjoy going to stores. They still enjoy seeing products…and touching them,” said Riley Dugan, a marketing professor at the University of Dayton who studies retail-related trends. “Some people do like physical crowding. They like stores where there’s a lot of people around; they feel it’s exciting; they feel like it’s an event.”

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Some shoppers thrive on the hunt for a good deal, Dugan said. Others see Thanksgiving shopping as a family tradition, like Sandra Berger of Miamisburg.

Berger and her family celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday afternoon and then they head to standalone stores like Kohl’s, Walmart and Target before heading to the mall when the crowds die down late Thanksgiving night.

Technology and home goods are some of the hottest deals again this year including Apple AirPods, the Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 11, hoverboards, televisions, the Galaxy S10 and iRobot vacuum cleaners.

Many of the biggest retailers’ Black Friday advertisements have price drops, but many area retailers are also once again offering extra incentives. Some Target purchases will come with gift cards, Kohl’s will give $15 Kohl’s Cash to use at a later date for every $50 spent and Meijer’s biggest deals give coupons for money off a future purchase.

Shoppers looking to take advantage of those deals will enjoy relatively calm weather with no precipitation expected Thursday or Friday, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Dontae Jones. Temperatures will be in the 40s most of the day but could be in the 30s during the early morning hours.

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“If you think about 40s, you say ‘oh that’s not bad I’ll wear a jacket.’ But when you’re standing outside with a breeze, the 40s can become uncomfortable,” Jones said. “I would have the coat, and I would have the hat and I would have the gloves.”

Traffic will be elevated Thursday, especially on the roads with the biggest shopping districts, said Trooper Sheldon Goodrum with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Drivers should be especially cautious in parking lots, looking out for pedestrians, and on Ohio 725 in Miami Twp., North Fairfield Road and Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek where stores will draw thousands for Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping.

Yet many shoppers won’t want to bear the longs lines, packed parking lots and cold weather while waiting for stores to open, Dugan said.

“I’m just not into large crowds of people. I feel bad too for employees at some of these store because they’re being made to work earlier and earlier,” said Jared Shank of Beavercreek who was shopping at the Centerville Kohl’s last week. “Now some of them are even open Thanksgiving Day and you’re taking away their family time. And I have no desire to go out and shop just for a deal.”

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Shanks will do some shopping online this week though, he said.

Dozens of retailers, including Burlington Coat Factory, Hobby Lobby, Costco, Menards, Sam’s Club, Staples and HomeGoods will keep their doors locked up this holiday — something 72% of consumers polled by bestblackfriday.com said stores should do.

Ohio shoppers are expected to spend $25 billion, including about $1.7 billion in the Dayton area. That’s a 0.8% and 0.7% jump respectively, according to a study from the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and University of Cincinnati Economics Center.

Nationally sales are expected to jump up to 4.2%, including an 11% increase in online sales.

“The best thing about what’s happening in the industry lately is whatever day is convenient for you, in whatever way is convenient, you’re going to be able to have great opportunities at sales and deals to benefit you and your family,” said Alex Boehnke spokesman for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

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