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Holiday shopping arrives with Thanksgiving, Black Friday
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Paul Viverette, from Braselton, shops for clothes at the J.C. Penney at Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

The holiday shopping season is now upon us.

“I love Black Friday shopping,” said Debbie Clark, a Gainesville resident and teacher at Johnson High School.

But it’s not just the day after Thanksgiving that has Clark energized. She got a jump start on the doorbuster deals on Wednesday at Lakeshore Mall.

And Clark said she will be shopping after filling up on turkey and stuffing with family Thursday.

“They let me be,” she said with a laugh. “I just love having fun with it, seeing all the people.”

There was a time when Black Friday served as the formal kickoff to the sales season.

But as retailers try to outdo one another and customer demand warrants odd hours of operation, some of the biggest chains have begun to open their doors on Thanksgiving night. Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and Best Buy in Gainesville are just a few such examples.

And at Lakeshore Mall, the big-box retailers with an outside entrance, such as Sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods, J.C. Penney and Books-A-Million, will be open this afternoon and evening.

According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 69 percent of Americans, or 164 million people, “are planning to shop or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend.”

Of those, 32 million plan to shop and spend on Thanksgiving Day, while 115 million plan to shop on Black Friday.

“This year, we updated our survey to more accurately capture consumer behavior throughout the entire shopping weekend — Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Consumers will benefit from competitive promotions both in stores and online lasting the course of the weekend, allowing them to find the best gifts at the lowest prices.”  

Meanwhile, 71 million Americans are planning to shop on what has become known as Small Business Saturday. And 78 million are planning to shop on Cyber Monday.

Of those shopping, 66 percent surveyed said it’s all about the deals and promotions offered on things from electronics to home goods. But 26 percent said they are motivated by the “tradition” of shopping this weekend.

That tradition rings true with Clark.

“What's a girl to do?” she asked, cutting a smile so wide it might be seen from the North Pole.

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