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Black Friday crowd more steady throughout the day

Black Friday is known to many as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Nearly 2 million more people than last year are expected to shop from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The number of early morning shoppers isn’t as large as it used to be, but management at Gun & Reel Sports and Home of Economy in Jamestown are expecting a steady crowd of shoppers throughout the day on Black Friday.

Gary Docktor, owner of Gun & Reel, said many shoppers go to places like Walmart early in the morning to purchase electronic items. Gun & Reel used to open early, but now it opens at 9 a.m.

“There are usually a few people waiting to get in,” he said. “It’s not like it used to be because for a while there Walmart was opening at 5:30 in the morning.”

Robert Hallberg said the crowd last year was spread out throughout the day because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m anticipating that it will be right at the same ballpark as last year and the year before,” he said. “Last year through Black Friday with everything that was going on, it was a little more spread out throughout the entire day versus previous years, it was a lot of people in right away in the morning and then it tapered off later in the afternoon.”

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He said both entrances to the Home of Economy will be open for most of the day.

Black Friday is known to many as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Nearly 2 million more people than last year are expected to shop from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Docktor said many people started shopping for holiday gifts because they heard some products might not be available.

“I know some people wait until the end, but I think this year they are going to shop a lot earlier because of the availability is not there,” he said. “I’m anticipating it is going to be busy just with the way everything is going.”

Hallberg said there were some items he was not sure would come in but they arrived Friday, Nov. 19.

“They are getting distributed out and we are good on those,” he said.

Consumers are expected to spend an average of about $1,000, and holiday sales during November and December are expected to be between $843.4 billion and $859 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Docktor said items that Gun & Reel usually sells on Black Friday include ammunition, ice fishing gear and clothing.

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“We are usually pretty busy because we usually run some ammunition specials and some other specials and big discounts on certain items and stuff that we don’t have other times of the year,” he said.

Items expected to be sold early at Home of Economy include a 1,000 lumen LED worklight, booster cables, a Black Diamond 12-gallon wet-and-dry vacuum and a Milwaukee M18 half-inch brushless drill kit, Hallberg said.

“I haven’t been wrong for five years in a row,” he said.

Coffee, cider and cookies are available to shoppers at Gun & Reel. Gun & Reel also offers free gift wrapping.

Cookies, coffee and tea are also available to shoppers at Home of Economy.

The survey by National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics found that 53% of shoppers are expected to give clothing as a gift, followed by gift cards at 46%, toys at 39%, books, music, movies or video games at 35% and food or candy at 31%.

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