WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Holiday shoppers got an extra-early start Thanksgiving Day with pre-Black Friday sales at major retailers across Wilmington, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Old Navy, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney among others.
The National Retail Federation estimates 21 percent of shoppers got started on Thanksgiving Day, with over 260 million people expected to shop between now and Cyber Monday.
Best Buy opened its doors at 5 p.m. and a deal on a 58″ smart TV for $200 had people lined up at the door.
Ryan Healy was first in line.
“My TV’s actually been busted for a while, so I’ve been waiting for Black Friday because I know it’s going to be cheap and it’s one of those things where you know things are always on sale, and I’m just buying it because it’s on sale but I actually need a TV, so it works out,” Healy said.
Mike Spence said his family doesn’t usually shop on Thanksgiving Day, but the same TV deal was too good to pass on.
“We debated whether we were going to get it online and we decided to just go ahead and come out and try to get it and see what happens,” said Spence, surprised the crowd wasn’t crazier.
While there were certainly far more shoppers than a typical Thursday, most people seemed in good spirits and seemed to be finding what they were looking for.
Ben Mitchell and Alayna Rhoad laughed as they said they came for the people watching, and were just trying to keep up with their big shopper: Mom.
“At home, you’re going to do the same thing you did the day before..the day before; when you’re out it’s all these people, everybody’s looking for a deal, it’s just fun,” Mitchell said.
Opening on Thanksgiving Day has long been controversial as some want to see stores stay closed so employees can be home with their families.
The manager of Wilmington’s Best Buy, Michael Courtney, said “there is an incentive of time and a half working today. We do thanksgiving dinner for them, we have food and drinks in the break room for them and we feed them all weekend, but they do get excited about it and love working tonight. We usually have people volunteer to work tonight, we don’t have to ask.”
Most of the retailers who open on Thanksgiving Day will close around 1 a.m. and re-open with their official Black Friday sales several hours later.