For many Kansas City shoppers, Thanksgiving was not just a day for turkey and football. Bargain hunters hit stores for holiday sales before or after sitting down to a bountiful meal.
Local Kansas City television stations showed people lined up to get into area Best Buys and other stores that opened Thursday evening. Other stores that were open included Wal-Mart, Target and Kohls.
However, many shopping centers opted out of the recent trend of Thanksgiving Day sales and gave their employees the day off. These included the Legends Outlets, Oak Park Mall, Zona Rosa and the Country Club Plaza, according to KSHB TV-41.
REI, the outdoor gear and sporting goods store in Overland Park, has made a name for itself in recent years by remaining closed both Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday, instead encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors.
Nationwide, many stores have started offering holiday sales in late October. But Black Friday still promises to be a major shopping day, both in Kansas City and across the country.
Locally, retailers in the Historic West Bottoms that are normally only open on First Friday festival weekends announced that they had decided to open for this additional weekend as they are seeing demand for their vintage and antique goods. Most stores there will open at 8 a.m. Friday.
The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail group, expects holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent for November and December, better than the 3 percent growth seen for those months last year. That excludes car sales, gas and restaurant receipts but includes online spending and other nonstore sales like catalog spending. The group estimates that nonstore sales should rise 7 to 10 percent.
This weekend is crucial to set the tone for the season. Around 137 million people plan to or are considering doing their shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey conducted for the NRF. That includes online and store shopping. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, vies with the Saturday before Christmas as the busiest shopping day of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.