UPDATE @ 3:30 p.m.:
Hundreds of shoppers waited in a line that wrapped around the parking lot at the JCPenney at the Mall at Fairfield Commons. The retailers gave away coupons at the door, and issued tickets for bigger items like televisions and PlayStation products.
JCPenney's general manager, Mike Wages, held the door open for customers as they walked into the store. The line seemed much longer than it was last year, he said.
UPDATE @ 11:30 a.m.:
At least 100 people stood in line to receive free gift cards of various amounts from Elder-Beerman in Kettering.
Brenda Rumbaugh, of Belmont, usually dresses up as Mrs. Claus or as an elf for Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. Standing in line with a friend and family member, Rumbaugh said waiting in line isn’t a burden when you’re doing it with company.
“I’m always done with my shopping before now,” she said. “I just do this for fun. I make it a fun day.”
After making it through the line, Rumbaugh pointed at her friend, who grinned.
“Now, she’s happy. She got a $50 gift card.”
UPDATE @ 10:06 a.m.:
Dozens of people waited in line outside of Elder-Beerman in Kettering. The retailer, which opens its doors at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving, will give away gifts cards of various amounts to the first 200 people in line at stores.
Karen Miller, of Bellbrook, loves going shopping on Thanksgiving weekend every season. She said she’s just browsing, but has landed deals on gifts like an iPhone 6S in previous years.
“I’m looking for gifts for my nieces,” she said. “Probably pajamas, socks. We’ll go to the Mall at Fairfield Commons later.”
UPDATE @ 9:14 a.m.:
Small crowds came out to stores like Kroger, Meijer and Cabela’s early on Thanksgiving. Elder-Beerman will open at 11 a.m., and JCPenney will open later in the afternoon.
UPDATE @ 6:40 a.m.:
Meijer stores opened at 6 a.m. today, one of the first retailers to open early on Thanksgiving. Though lines were not long, shoppers waited in the electronics and toys sections to land deals on hot items like Keurig makers, iPhones and wireless printers.
David Taliaferro, of West Carrollton, arrived at Meijer on Springboro Pike around 6 a.m. With a cart full of electronics, he waited in a short line for an Amazon Fire TV Stick on sale for $25. The product usually sells for $45 or more.
“I bought a TV for my sister,” he said. “I’ll probably go out shopping later today, but I’ve gotten a lot of the big ticket electronics in the past couple of years so I’m not looking for too much.”
Other stores will open today too. Cabela’s opens at 8 a.m., after closing stores on Thanksgiving last year. JCPenney opens stores at 2 p.m., and other big box retailers open at later in the evening.
While some retailers will close their doors this Thanksgiving, most of the local malls in the Miami Valley will remain open for eager shoppers.
Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons will both open today, and again, on Black Friday. The two malls open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Greene Town Center is closed today, but will open at 6 a.m. for Black Friday deals. Other retailers open today include: Meijer, Cabela’s, Elder-Beerman, JCPenney, Toys”R”Us, Target and Walmart.
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Retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Sam’s Club and Costco are closed today. Toys “R”Us, Macy’s, Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods will open in the evening on the holiday.
The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the University of Cincinnati Economics Center found the state is likely to see a 9 percent increase in holiday retail spending compared to 2015. In 2016, an estimated $23.6 billion was brought in by holiday sales. In 2015, holiday sales resulted in more than $21 billion in revenue throughout the state.
For the first time, online shopping will exceed brick-and-mortar sales — 59 percent of consumers plan to spend online. The national federation projects that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion. Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to an annual survey conducted by the federation.
Local malls and shopping centers are still prepping for large shopping crowds, despite the fact that online sales are expected to dominate this year. Steve Willshaw, the general manager of The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek, said the shopping center starts to see larger crowds the weekend before Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
“It stays busy after that,” Willshaw said. “No one is going to argue that online sales have become a part of the shopping experience but you can’t dine online, take a carriage ride or enjoy any of the other holiday festivities that are associated with this time of year at The Greene.”
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