Stores, customers brace for Black Friday bonanza

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At the Dover Mall, Asia Walker stocks the JCPenney shelves with Okie Dokie girls clothes — a big seller on Black Friday. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — Many people abhor the idea of going out shopping on Black Friday or, even worse, on Thanksgiving itself.

Yet, for seemingly every person who hates the idea of long lines, large crowds and little sleep, plenty of customers are willing to endure it all to score some deals.

This year it looks to be no different. Almost 136.8 million people are expected to shop this long holiday weekend, which would mark an increase over 2014, according to the National Retail Federation.

About 133.7 million people shopped online or in stores over the four-day period from Thanksgiving to Sunday last year, the NRF reported.

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JCPenney employees like Cheryl Denson of Dover expect deals on Crock Pots to attract lots of Black Friday shoppers.

In Kent County, businesses — particularly the major chains — are pulling out all the stops for what are the biggest shopping days of the year.

Many stores open Thursday afternoon or evening for a few hours and then re-open Friday in the early a.m. A few are open throughout the holiday.

And some are bucking the Thanksgiving openings, staying closed on the holiday and opening Friday.

In Dover, Best Buy welcomes customers at 5 p.m. Thursday, will shut its doors at 1 a.m. Friday and plans to re-open at 8 a.m.

Target will stay open from 6 p.m. Thursday to 11 p.m. Friday.

STORE OPENINGS Many stores will open Thanksgiving day, getting a jump on Black Friday with deals beginning Thursday. Others wait until Friday itself, but regardless, there are plenty of chances for intrepid shoppers devoted to grabbing brand-name items at a low price to do just that — although it will likely involve giving up sleep and waiting in lines. Below is a listing of stores and when they open. Best Buy, 1165 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 5 p.m., close Friday at 1 a.m., re-open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Boscov’s, 3000 N. DuPont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 1 a.m., re-open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Target, 148 John Hunn Brown Rd., Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 11 p.m. Dick’s Sporting Goods, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., re-open Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. GameStop, 3084 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Home Depot, 801 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Lowe’s, 1450 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. JCPenney, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 3 p.m., close Friday at 10 p.m. Kohl’s, 299 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 11:59 p.m. Macy’s, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 10 p.m. Sears, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., re-open Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Toys R Us, 1061 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 5 p.m., close Friday at 11 p.m. Tractor Supply, 4089 S. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Harbor Freight, 1606 S. Governors Avenue, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Verizon, 1045 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Walmart, 263 Walmart Dr., Camden: Open 24/7, deals start Thursday at 6 p.m.

STORE OPENINGS
Many stores will open Thanksgiving day, getting a jump on Black Friday with deals beginning Thursday. Others wait until Friday itself, but regardless, there are plenty of chances for intrepid shoppers devoted to grabbing brand-name items at a low price to do just that — although it will likely involve giving up sleep and waiting in lines. Below is a listing of stores and when they open.
-Best Buy, 1165 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 5 p.m., close Friday at 1 a.m., re-open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
-Boscov’s, 3000 N. DuPont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 1 a.m., re-open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
-Target, 148 John Hunn Brown Rd., Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 11 p.m.
-Dick’s Sporting Goods, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., re-open Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
-GameStop, 3084 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
-Home Depot, 801 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Lowe’s, 1450 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-JCPenney, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 3 p.m., close Friday at 10 p.m.
-Kohl’s, 299 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 11:59 p.m.
-Macy’s, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 6 p.m., close Friday at 10 p.m.
-Sears, 1365 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., re-open Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Toys R Us, 1061 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Open Thursday at 5 p.m., close Friday at 11 p.m.
-Tractor Supply, 4089 S. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Harbor Freight, 1606 S. Governors Avenue, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Verizon, 1045 N. Dupont Highway, Dover: Close Thursday, open Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Walmart, 263 Walmart Dr., Camden: Open 24/7, deals start Thursday at 6 p.m.

In contrast, Home Depot is closed Thursday and opens for business Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., the same as Monday through Wednesday this week.

Even stores not often thought of as taking part in the shopping bonanza have extended hours on Friday.

Take PetSmart, which is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Everything from toy lightsabers to TVs to cars will be up for grabs this weekend.

The BestBlackFriday.com website predicts deals ranging from 30 percent to 60 percent off at various major outlets, with electronics expected to be hot sellers. Smartphones, video games and computers are typical popular items, thanks to the savings dedicated shoppers can score.

JCPenney General Manager Gale Ashley-Davis is excited for the weekend, predicting an “awesome year.”

Employees, including seasonal hires, have been preparing for about a month, she said.

Merchandise is delivered and then moved to the sales floor so the store is fully prepared when the doors open.

For JCPenney, Black Friday is the single biggest day of the year, Ms. Ashley-Davis said, with more employees working and more customers shopping than at any other point.

Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman said the company has simplified its plan, kicking off deals online at 3 a.m. and in-store at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Black Friday has delivered solid sales for the company in recent years, a trend Walmart expects to continue, she said.

She touted a special package from the company that will guarantee early arriving consumers select items.

Shoppers who arrive between 6 and 7 p.m. Thursday seeking an iPad Air, Beats headphones, an Xbox One bundle, a 55-inch 4K TV and an HP laptop can either get the product in-store or, if the supply is out, pick it up before Christmas.

According to the NRF, LEGO and Barbie rank as the most popular toys for boys and girls, respectively. “Star Wars” products are expected to be bestsellers, in anticipation of the December release of “The Force Awakens.”

Toys from “Frozen,” the 2013 Disney blockbuster, also figure to be in high demand, continuing a trend.

Harbor Freight will have a variety of tools on sale, while Home Depot is promoting its appliances.

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JC Penney sales associate Rhonda Morris of Milford, left, expects ladies boots to attract plenty of buyers Friday.

Ms. Ashley-Davis pointed to kitchenware, boots, Disney toys and diamond earrings as some of the main items the company expects to be a hit at JCPenney.

While the Thanksgiving weekend is typically dominated by major companies, some local businesses are offering deals as well.

Horse owners may be interested in Chick’s Saddlery, in Harrington, while Dover’s Holden car dealership is advertising at least a half-dozen different brands for sale.

Many shoppers relish the chance to grab Christmas gifts for others or the newest video game for themselves, but it’s not just the consumers who are looking forward to the holiday event.

After preparing for weeks, planners get to see the culmination of their work and can take a satisfied sigh of relief once the weekend is done, Ms. Ashley-Davis said.

“You talk about it and then you start seeing it in action and now this is like the grand finale to that,” she said.

For those who may have missed out on the deal of a lifetime, relax. There’s always Cyber Monday.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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