Thanksgiving Day shopping guide: What you need to know

The peak of the holiday shopping season for retailers kicks off early Thursday morning as thousands of area shoppers look for deals.

More than 164 million shoppers are expected to shop in the United States during the upcoming five-day period, including 34 million today on Thanksgiving, according to the National Retail Federation. The next two days are the biggest revenue producers during the year for stores.

Shoppers who want to get deals without the crowds should shop today, rather than wait for Friday when 82 million more people will hit stores, said Riley Dugan, a marketing professor at the University of Dayton.

“I think everyone hates the lines. I wish I could just get in and get out … but if you’re going to get great deals, it pays off,” said Wright State University student Megan Armentrout said.

When stores are opening

Meijer opens its doors at 6 a.m., followed by Cabela’s at 8 a.m. and JCPenney at 2 p.m. Deals at several retailers begin in the late afternoon Thursday. Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy and Target open at 5 p.m. Walmart will be open all day but starts Black Friday deals at 6 p.m., along with Dick’s Sporting Goods. The Dayton Daily News is committed in bringing you the latest on retail shopping. Check out our online shopping page at

While Armentrout works retail, she said she plans to shop late Thursday on her break between Thanksgiving and Black Friday shifts.

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Shoppers will have fewer options this year to shop on Thanksgiving. While no major retailers are closed today,’s list of store closures on Thanksgiving reached records. Stores like A.C. Moore, Barnes & Noble, Burlington, Costco, H&M, Lowe’s, Nordstrom and Sam’s Club will leave their doors shut on Thanksgiving.

“Some more stores are probably not going to be open as opposed to previous years, and on the surface that’s wonderful because people are going to be spending more time with their families and that’s really what the holiday, particularly Thanksgiving, is about,” Dugan said. “But the cynic in me suggests that perhaps the reason they’re doing that is sales maybe weren’t as expected and there was no reason for the store to be open on Thanksgiving.”

Brick-and-mortar Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, while still massive compared to the average shopping day, have started to slow in growth as online shopping increases. Sales online are expected to increase nearly 15 percent this year, according to Adobe Analytics.

There’s also a stigma associated with shopping on Thanksgiving, a traditional family holiday, that could keep retailers from opening and consumers at home.

»Store hours: Here’s when retailers will open for Thanksgiving, Black Friday sales

“I certainly hope that people spend the time with their family…there’s so many more days you can go shopping including of course Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so I hope this is a trend that continues,” Dugan said.

Even the biggest of online shoppers plan to do some brick-and-mortar holiday shopping this year, including Paige Barton of Springboro. She prefers shopping Amazon from home but still shops on Thanksgiving with her family as a tradition.

“My cousins always come down from Toledo,” Barton said. “Instead of sitting at the house doing whatever, we’re like ‘why not go shopping?’”

She and her family start after their Thanksgiving gathering late Thursday night and shop until 5 a.m. Then they sleep a little bit before going back out to hit the rest of the stores.

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“I’m always excited,” Barton said. “Saved up my money and I’m ready to go.”

Shoppers will spend more this year than others, including an expected 3.2 percent increase to $24.9 billion in Ohio as jobs and wages grow, according to the University of Cincinnati Economics Center. Dayton-area sales are among the middle of the pack, expected to grow 3 percent compared to Mansfield’s 8 percent and Cincinnati’s 1.9 percent.


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