CARTERET COUNTY — With Thanksgiving upon us, another, unofficial, holiday has arrived to get shoppers across the county excited: Black Friday.

Black Friday traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season, and staff at Flowers and Designs by Ernest in Beaufort hope to help patrons get in the spirit this year. Kim Britt with Flowers and Designs said all Christmas-related items in the store will be 50% off all day Friday and Saturday.

She said this will be the first-ever Black Friday sale for the local shop, which specializes in custom flower arrangements and seasonal decor, like ornaments and wreaths. The store, which is already filled to the brim with Christmas decorations, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

“This will probably be the biggest discounts we’ll offer for the season, so if anybody wants Christmas stuff, now is the time to come,” Ms. Britt said Monday ahead of the madness of the weekend. “…I hope it’s crazy busy, that’s what we want. If anything, people will come and get put in the holiday spirit. I mean, if you don’t get in the holiday spirit after coming in here, you just need to go on to January.”

Ms. Britt said the shop wanted to do a Black Friday sale this year as a way to show appreciation for its customers, who come from all over the county. She said ornaments are a particularly popular item this time of year, as are wreaths and specialty arrangements.    

“We have such loyal customers, so we thought we’d try to offer them an even bigger discount than what we have in the past,” she said. “So we’ll give it a go and see what happens.”

Elsewhere in the county, local and national retailers alike are also preparing for Black Friday sales. Some stores offer their best door-buster deals Thanksgiving Day, and lines sometimes form as early as Wednesday. In years past, shoppers who line up well before the dawn breaks on Black Friday have said they not only do it for the good deals, but to spend time with family and friends and celebrate a unique tradition.

The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend also encompasses Small Business Saturday, created by American Express in 2010 to encourage shopping local, and Cyber Monday, when online retailers like Amazon hold their biggest sales.

The National Retail Federation, which tracks consumer spending and shopping trends, predicts more than 165 million people nationwide will shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, with the majority of those, more than 114 million, hitting the stores Black Friday.

“The tradition of Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping has become a five-day event with consumers spending money in stores, supporting local small businesses, and online with their mobile devices and computers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release about the federation’s holiday predictions. “Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend.”

In addition, the NRF’s annual forecast estimates holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018, for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. Online and other non-store sales in particular are expected to grow even more, between 11% and 14% to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year.

“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” Mr. Shay said. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric.  Consumers are in good financial shape and retailers expect a strong holiday season. However, confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.”

According to the NRF, consumers plan to spend a total of $1,048 on average for decorations, candy and gifts this holiday season. Top gifts this year include clothing/accessories, gift cards, toys, books, food/candy and electronics. Popular toys for girls this year include Barbies, dolls and LOL Surprise Dolls and top gift for boys are LEGO, cars and trucks and Hot Wheels.  

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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