Raleigh, North Carolina – Black Friday got off to a slow start in the Triangle, but by afternoon the Crabtree Valley Mall was packed with shoppers.
This year, stores started carrying their Black Friday deals early, with closed doors available in-store and online. Many sales started before Black Friday, while others go on for days.
COVID-19 is radically reshaping Black Friday. While analysts predict record online sales, there are plenty of people buying the old fashioned way – in person.
At 2 p.m. on Friday, crowds of shoppers flooded the interior of the mall. Shoppers wore masks and stores were meeting 50% capacity limits, but the mall was still packed.
SmartShopper has Black Friday deals at Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and more.
One buyer, Leticha Chandler, said she was very aware of COVID-19, but still decided to shop in person at Best Buy because she couldn’t find the TV her daughter wanted online.
“It was good, there weren’t too many people,” she says. “People are socially distanced, we actually only have one salesperson helping us across the store.”
The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday shopping sales could increase 5% overall this year despite the pandemic.
Buying trends are also changing. Items like electronics, appliances, furnishings, and other items you use around the home are big sellers this year, as this is where a lot of people spend the majority of their time.
Usually, long queues are reported at stores in the Triangle before sunrise on Black Friday, but with the increase in coronavirus cases, it was difficult to find the usual crowds on Friday morning.
Smart Shopper has a list of deals and sales at Amazon, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target and more.
At Crabtree Valley Mall, Courtside and GameStop were two popular stores on Friday morning. At Courtside, the sneakers were reduced to as low as $ 40 and the PlayStation 5 sold out quickly at GameStop and other stores in the area.
WRAL Keely Arthur was stationed outside Best Buy in Crabtree Valley on Friday afternoon, where only 250 customers were allowed into the store at a time.
An Old Navy staff member said that even with the 50% off Black Friday deals, he was surprised the store was close to reaching capacity. Shoppers will have to queue outside if the store reaches capacity.
“It’s honestly pretty wild,” he said. “Everything is just chaotic.”
A family has come to Crabtree to purchase face shields.
“We came out because we wanted to buy two things,” said one member. “We go in and out. If there are too many people in a store, we leave.”
List: Today’s Best Black Friday Deals