LIMA — Experts with the National Retail Association have been calling for record-breaking sales this holiday season and if the traditional Christmas shopping season event is an accurate indicator it may be one forecast that’s spot-on. The mall parking lot was full and the aisles were crowded in seemingly every store in the mall for the Black Friday sales event to give businesses a good start toward giving credence to the lofty prediction.
“It was very crowded everywhere I went today but it really wasn’t too bad for you to enjoy being able to get out and shop off some of those extra pounds from too much turkey and pie,” Lima resident Janelle Stephenson said.
Stephenson was out to get a few videogames, TVs and a new air fryer after waking up at 4:30 in the morning to get her coffee and game plan together. She is a one-woman shopping team and says she has shopped by herself for the last eight or nine years and prefers to keep it that way.
“Oh yeah, I love my mom and sisters as much as anyone, but I don’t have time for their lollygagging behind and slowing my process down,” she laughed. “I just tell them it is because there are things that I want to buy them and I don’t want them to see.”
If the crowds in the mall were impressive, then the crowd at Kohl’s, just behind the mall, was overwhelming as many shoppers like Steve Rettig, of Bluffton, decided against going through a line snaking its way nearly throughout the store.
“I don’t have time to stand in these lines,” Rettig said. “If I want something I guess I will just go home and order it online. It’s good to see the businesses are making money and all, but they can get their money from me behind a computer screen today. I’m too tired, old and grouchy to try to endure all of that.”
Two million more people are expected to be shopping over this weekend compared to last year, but that is still down 7 million shoppers from the 165 million that hit the stores in 2019. But retail stores are already seeing some improvements this year.
With the early numbers still trickling in it’s anyone’s guess as to exactly how the numbers will fall, however, whether they are up or down, there will be plenty of time for retailers to pick up more steam as the deals continue throughout the weekend and into next month until the guy in red makes his appearance.