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Many merchants plan earlier Black Friday start
Opening for some or all of Thanksgiving
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Forsyth County News

Local retailers are preparing for what nationally is dubbed as the busiest shopping day of the year.

Not long after they’ve finished their Thanksgiving turkey, thousands of shoppers will be ready to start their Black Friday shopping.

The day after Thanksgiving gets its name in reference to retailers “getting back into the black” with profits. According to information from the Georgia Retail Association, merchants can make between 20 and 40 percent of all their annual sales during the Christmas shopping season in November and December.

This year, many retailers are planning to begin that process even earlier by being open for some or all of Thanksgiving Day.

According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, some 140 million people in the U.S. plan to hit stores at some point over the Thanksgiving weekend, with the majority of those, about 70 percent, planning to shop Friday.

The survey also noted that nearly one-quarter of those surveyed plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year.

“Shoppers are still bargain driven, but they are more optimistic about the economy next year,” said Rick McAllister, president of the Georgia Retail Association, in a statement.

“Retailers are staffed up and ready for big crowds scooping up the door busters and deals they are offering this week.”

In Forsyth, shoppers will be able to hit some stores after their holiday dinners, if they wish.

Steve Reid, manager of Target on Market Place Boulevard, said the store will begin its Black Friday event at 8 tonight.

“We’ll be here overnight and all day Friday through 11 p.m.,” he said.

Kelly Freese, manager of Belk at Lakeland Plaza in Cumming, said her store will offer shoppers similar hours.

“We open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving and remain open until 10 p.m. Friday,” she said.

Both retailers are readying with full staffs throughout the shopping period and plenty of sales and special discounts.

“Black Friday is historically one of the busiest days in the retail year so … we’ll have lots of great bargains and values available,” Reid said.

Added Freese: “We have all our same great brands but at unbelievable prices during Black Friday.

Freese said her staff has been working hard this week to finalize special offers for the holiday period.

“The first 325 customers in line will receive a free Belk gift card valued between $5 and $1,000,” she said. “One customer at every Belk store will win a $1,000 gift card.”

Reid said Target team members have also been busy preparing.

“We’ll have lots of cashiers here to ring everyone out and lots of team members to help everyone find just that perfect gift for their Christmas wish list,” Reid said.

He said some of the anticipated big sellers are portable electronics, video games, toys and clothing.

While Freese said cosmetics will also be top items in her store.

“Cosmetics will even have some fantastic deals this year that we have never done before,” she said.

Freese advised Belk shoppers to arrive early.

“They should come early if they want to try and get a gift card,” she said. “We typically have over 1,000 customers in line and only 325 gift cards.”

Reid’s advice was for shoppers to make the most of the Black Friday shopping events.

“I think just have fun with it,” he said. “It’s always a great time to see people. We have guests that have been shopping together on Black Friday for years and it becomes sort of a family tradition for them.

“So have fun, enjoy and hopefully find that just perfect Christmas gift.”