Home News Local News Black Friday deals draw crowds to local retailers

Black Friday deals draw crowds to local retailers

Santa greets children Friday at the Roswell Mall. This is the second year that Ed and Kathy Cook Photography have run a Santa photo area at the shopping center. Santa will be at that location Fridays through Sundays in November and December and during Christmas week. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Local shoppers turned out at major retailers as Black Friday shopping began and Santa made one of his first appearances in Roswell.

More than 164 million people nationwide are expected to shop online or in stores Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Here, Roswell shoppers peruse items in a “big box” retailer Friday morning. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Nationwide, 164 million people are expected to shop from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, according to a study conducted on behalf of the National Retail Federation.

Of those, 116 million were expected in stores or online Friday. About 67 million plan to shop on Small Business Saturday, with most survey respondents saying they will do so specifically to support locally owned businesses. In New Mexico, small-business retailers with 10 or fewer employees will be exempt from gross receipts tax Saturday, with the gubernatorial administration indicating that the aim is to save consumers money.

On Friday, the mall and large retailers had attracted crowds, with some retailers reporting more business than last year but others saying they expect the real spending spurt to begin a couple of weeks before Christmas.

“It has been busier than last year,” said local Target manager Juan Perez about Thursday and Friday shopping. “Online orders have increased as well.”

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Retailers at the mall said business appeared a bit “soft” a few hours into Friday but added that large crowds usually don’t show up until later in the season.

“We’ve been here 30 years,” said Pat Martin of Martin’s Jewelry and Gifts, “and every year it seems like everybody waits until the last two weeks to shop.”

She said her experience is that many people shop online and buy electronics during the early part of the shopping season and then purchase more personal items closer to the holiday.

Kathy Cook of Ed and Kathy Cook Photography, which has the Santa photo area at the Roswell Mall, said the demand was a bit down the first day of the season compared to last year, which was the inaugural year for that business to run the attraction.

“There’s lots of hope that it will get better,” she said, adding that good weather could have drawn would-be shoppers to outdoor activities instead. Other mall retailers said a stable economy coupled with lower gas prices could mean that more people are traveling to other cities this holiday.

Two families at the mall said that children brought them to the mall. One was combining a son’s birthday with some Christmas shopping, while another group from Carlsbad chose Roswell so that the children could shop for each other.

“We went to El Paso last year,” said grandmother Marla Waldrop of Truth and Consequences, “but it was too hectic. We came here so that the children could shop for each other.”

Retail is now the nation’s largest private-sector employer, according to the National Retail Federation, supporting one in four U.S. jobs, or 42 million workers. It also contributes $2.6 trillion to annual gross domestic product and is considered a measure of the nation’s economy.

The term Black Friday became associated with Thanksgiving holiday shopping in the 1950s after police used the phrase to describe the traffic jams, retail crimes and chaos that often occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the holiday shopping period. In recent years, it has been used to designate a highly profitable period of the winter holiday shopping season.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.