Shop Eat Later

November 29, 2013 by  

Shop Eat Later, Before most Thanksgiving turkeys even approached the oven on Thursday, a small line of tents had formed in front of a Best Buy in Falls Church, Va., their inhabitants waiting for the holiday deals to begin. First in line was William Ignacio, who pitched his tent at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

A sale at Walmart in Alexandria, Va., had shoppers clamoring for tablets.

Traditionally, the holiday shopping season kicks off on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. But every year, more stores are opening on the holiday itself and keeping their doors open longer, beginning in the predawn hours, and shoppers are taking advantage, whether before dinner or after.

“Thanksgiving dinner is over,” said Becky Solari, 18, standing in the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill. “And there’s nothing else to do.”

In Annandale, Va., rock salt had been sprinkled on the parking lot in front of the Kmart that opened at 6 a.m. Though the temperature was just below freezing, a handful of shoppers were lured out of bed for discounted electronics or to browse in advance of Friday’s sales.

Under a “Mas Navidad” sign near the customer service desk, Cindy Kennedy, 39, said she did not see why people would object to Thanksgiving store hours and people working the holiday. Northern Virginia is home to many immigrants, like her husband, who is from El Salvador, she said.

“Not everybody celebrates Thanksgiving,” Mrs. Kennedy said. “It’s not a world holiday.”

More than 400 people were lined up in 28-degree weather outside a Target in Schaumburg, just before the store opened Thursday night at 8.

“My TV from last year is in beautiful, perfect condition, but this one is bigger and better,” said Ruben Calderon, an annual Black Friday shopper who planned to buy a 50-inch LED TV and some Xbox games at Target on Thursday. “In all my years of doing this, I have never seen a deal on a TV that’s this good.”

This is a critical time of year for retailers, given that holiday season shopping generally accounts for about 20 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Last year, nearly 140 million people shopped through the Thanksgiving weekend, the federation said.

But with many Americans still struggling with stagnant wages, retail executives have warned of a lackluster holiday season. Anxiety about low traffic – in-store and online – coupled with tight budgets has spurred strenuous competition for the lowest possible price.

In a hurry to get to customers first, retailers introduced promotions not just a few hours early this year, but days and even weeks ahead. kicked off its holiday season on Nov. 1, for example.

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