Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Despite inflation, crowds gather on Black Friday

Crowds returned to malls and Michigan Avenue on Black Friday in search of something that has often seemed elusive: bargains to offset the inflation that has made everyday life more expensive this year.

Although shoppers packed stores Friday, many said they were disappointed they didn’t find more staggering savings, especially given how expensive groceries, gas and other essentials have been in recent months. Others said they were there mostly for the experience, and that they’re doing most of their holiday shopping online this year, taking advantage of fall and winter deals, not just Black Friday.

Experts expect this shopping season to be a big one, with holiday retail spending projected to grow 6-8% in November and December — well above the decade average, according to the National Retail Federation. But now shoppers are increasingly looking for deals earlier, and Black Friday represents the halfway point of the shopping season, not the beginning, according to the federation. Many shoppers also look for discounts online.

On Black Friday alone, consumers spent $7.28 as of 5 p.m., according to Adobe. This Black Friday is expected to set a record for online sales for the day, Adobe said.

In Chicago, online shopping may have helped reduce morning crowds at Water Tower Place. The mall was almost empty by 11am. For buyers like Derek and Stacey Saulette, that was a good thing. Although they said they mostly look online for deals, the Indianapolis couple wanted to take their 7-year-old daughter, Scout, to shop around town during their visit. Stacey Saulette said they usually avoid going to the stores because of the crowds.

The family’s first stop was a Lego store for Scout, who was carrying a shopping bag. “That’s what she wanted to do today,” Stacey Souvlett said.

She said she planned to jump on her computer and see if there were any more offers, mainly “Christmas surprises” for her daughter, once she got back to their hotel.

Jackie and Justin Pyarun of Naples, Florida, brought their two young children for similar reasons, wanting to give them a holiday shopping experience. Jackie Pyarun said this is the first year they’ve done it as a family of four.

She admitted that some of the joy and excitement of Black Friday has died down over the years due to the convenience of online shopping, which she also does. Advance sales make Christmas shopping easier, she said. They were looking for a blue flatbed truck, her oldest, which she calls “the big truck.”

“I think stores in general do a great job with presales,” she said. “But other than that, if we see things here that catch our eye, we’ll go for them because the stores have different sales in stores and online. It’s hard because with little ones, you just don’t want to disappoint.”

Ann DiCanio, 26, of Elmhurst, and her family also went shopping Friday at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, mostly for the experience, following a long-standing family tradition.

They met there at 6 in the morning, but did not expect to find passengers.

People take a break at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Nov. 25, 2022.

Rather, “the sooner we get there, the more time we can spend together,” said DiCanio’s aunt, Janine Kroll, 49, of Chicago’s Dunning neighborhood. The tradition is so important to them that in 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the group gathered at Kroll’s house to shop online together.

“If we don’t leave with Christmas presents today, I don’t think any of us will be upset,” DiCanio said as the group took a lunch break in the food court.

Natai Wilfinger, 27, of Crystal Lake, also said this year’s Black Friday was smoother for her family than in years past, when they hit the stores at 4 a.m. for freebies and robberies.

This year they got to Woodfield around 8:30am

“I don’t miss waking up, I’ll tell you that,” said her brother, Quaid Wilfinger, 24, of McHenry, as he stood outside the store Friday taking a break from shopping.

Now, “deals take so long,” said his aunt, Karin Dietz, 57, of Cary.

Some shoppers, including Brandy Lorenzo, 43, of Huntley, combined online and in-person shopping on Friday. While she was waiting in line for a bean tea for her 12-year-old daughter in Woodfield, she bought the shoes over the phone. At Victoria’s Secret, she ordered an item online that she couldn’t find in the store.

“I thought it was comfortable,” Lorenzo said.

Black Friday shoppers line up at Oak Brook Center on November 25, 2022.

Some shoppers, however, say they miss the days of racing to the mall for early morning deals and deep one-day discounts, especially as they struggle with inflation. Despite the slowdown in inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices rose by 7.7% in October compared to the same period last year.

At Water Tower Place, Colette Williams recalled waking up early to have time to talk about the proposals. This year, Williams and her relatives were surprised to find that stores were opening later and the deals weren’t as competitive as before.

“I remember standing in line at 5 o’clock in the morning at Best Buy because there was some video game that my kids wanted,” Williams said. “My husband gave us coffee and we traded. But there is nothing like that.”

Some consumers say they have adjusted their gift plans this year to account for inflation and the lack of doors. .

“It’s tough,” said Dawn Morris, 55, of Belvidere, as she shopped with her daughter, son-in-law and 5-year-old granddaughter in Woodfield. Usually, “we spend everything on Christmas presents. This year, we have cut back a lot.”

She was disappointed that she couldn’t find any great deals or doors on Friday, even though the shopping started before dawn.

Brianna Hunter, 24, of Lake in the Hills, said she and her family have also experienced adversity in recent months. “We’re budgeting more, especially with food prices,” she said.

She said she’s trying to focus on quality over quantity during her holiday shopping this year, buying fewer items but making sure they’re beautiful. Hunter, her sister and mother got a few holiday gifts at Woodfield, but still got a bit of a price shock.

“Imagine how much it would have cost if it wasn’t for Black Friday,” her mother, Sheila Hunter, 54, said of some of their purchases.

​​​​​​​​While the roofs may be a thing of the past, Lizzy Payton said Black Friday is still a big day for her 13-year-old Abby, who saved up for a pair of Golden Goose sneakers.

Payton, her two daughters and mother started their day early on State Street and eventually came to Water Tower Place to do their major shopping.

“We love the holidays and want to make the most of them,” she said. “Black Friday shopping is always a part of it.”

In recent years, Patton said she’s noticed fewer stores and fewer shoppers at Water Tower Place. This year, she was also surprised to find stores opening much later. They were relaxing in the mall seating area while waiting for Golden Goose to open at 10am

She said that with the previous sale, her daughter could have bought the shoes much earlier.

“It’s a big deal for her to buy them herself, so we just didn’t want to buy them online,” Patton said.




Related Articles

Back to top button