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Augusta shoppers show up early as hopes rise for Black Friday rebound

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:12 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2021 at 11:16 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Shoppers came out before the sun did on Black Friday in the CSRA, with retailers here and across the country expecting bigger crowds than last year in a step toward normalcy.

The shopping kicked off before dawn in Augusta, with Best Buy doing brisk business as people hunted for holiday deals.

Meanwhile at the Target in the nearby Augusta Exchange shopping area, people were lined up around the corner of the building waiting for the doors to open.

Later in the morning, Augusta Mall had plenty of shoppers. People were lined up outside some stores that were controlling the number of people allowed inside at one time.

The fallout from the pandemic continues to weigh on businesses and shoppers’ minds. Buoyed by solid hiring, healthy pay gains and substantial savings, customers are returning to stores and splurging on all types of items.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales could hit a record-breaking $859 billion. Retail sales are expected to grow anywhere from 8.5 to 10.5 percent, a historic high.

Best Buy in Augusta was busy with bargain hunters before the sun came up on Black Friday.
Best Buy in Augusta was busy with bargain hunters before the sun came up on Black Friday.(WRDW)

The average person is estimated to spend around $1,000 on holiday items.

The NRF predicts a higher consumer confidence will bring out more people. Estimates say 64% of people will shop in stores, an uptick from 54% last year when COVID cases were higher.

But the spike has also resulted in limited selection across the board as suppliers and retailers have been caught flat-footed.

Some experts are also calling it a “Bleak Friday” because of supply chain issues shelves aren’t as full, and prices are rising.

Shortages of shipping containers and truckers have helped to delay deliveries, while inflation continues to creep. The combination of higher prices and lack of inventory could make for a less festive mood.

People were lined up and waiting for the doors to open on Black Friday at the Target in the...
People were lined up and waiting for the doors to open on Black Friday at the Target in the Augusta Exchange shopping area.(WRDW)

This year, many people have even started their shopping early because of supply chain concerns. Retail experts recommend that if you see something you want, do not wait, just go ahead and buy it because there is no guarantee you will be able to find it closer to the holidays.

And even though Black Friday is a big day at the stores, don’t forget Small Business Saturday is this weekend. The holiday shopping event is dedicated to encouraging consumers to shop at small and local independent retailers, local restaurants, and other local businesses.

Shoppers lined up outside stores at Augusta Mall on Black Friday as some retailers limited the...
Shoppers lined up outside stores at Augusta Mall on Black Friday as some retailers limited the number of people allowed inside at one time.(WRDW)

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