Avid holiday shoppers from in and around Douglas County will be up and out early Friday morning as they scurry to the mall and other retailers in the county on what might be the biggest shopping day of the year.

Black Friday shopping is more than just a time for seeking out door busters and bargains, explained Molly Mitchell, marketing director at Arbor Place Mall.

“Going to the mall on Black Friday is an event,” she said. “It is a tradition in a lot of families, with moms, daughters and grandmothers gettting out early and hitting the stores for a fun, family shopping experience. It is a community place and we’re gong to make it the best experience possible for families. “

Mitchell said Arbor Place Mall will be offering more than just great deals on Black Friday. A disc jockey will be on hand to liven things up between JC Penney and Belk from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there will be hourly giveaways for shoppers who braced the crowds and traffic on the busy shopping day.

The mall is hosting “Black Friday with Your Bestie” during the day, where one winner drawn during the day will get a $250 gift card along with one for the BFF.

According to survey data from RetailMeNot, consumer spending over the Black Friday weekend is expected to increase by 47 percent from the same period in 2016. with consumers’ planning to spend an average of $743 this year during the weekend that runs from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. That figure is up from an average of $505 over the same weekend last year.

Black Friday is the name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), which has been regarded as the beginning of the country's Christmas shopping season since 1952.

Why is it called “Black Friday?” One explanation is it is the time of year when retailers finally begin to turn a profit. It comes from an accounting term being “in the black” which means the company is making a profit.

But according to Bonnie Taylor-Blake, a neuroscience researcher at the University of North Carolina, the term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia. She said the term originated during the 1950s, when police in Philadelphia first coined the term to describe the mass of shoppers coming into the city from the suburbs on the day after Thanksgiving. It also has a connection with football, as the city promoted big sales ahead of the annual Army/Navy football game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

According to an annual survey released last week by the National Retail Federation, 69 percent of Americans — 164 million consumers — are planning to shop or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first time in survey history the numbers include Cyber Monday in addition to Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Sunday.

“This year, we updated our survey to more accurately capture consumer behavior throughout the entire shopping weekend — Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers will benefit from competitive promotions both in stores and online lasting the course of the weekend, allowing them to find the best gifts at the lowest prices.”

The survey also reveals that off those considering shopping the long holiday weekend, 20 percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day (32 million) but Black Friday will remain the busiest day with 70 percent planning to shop then (115 million).

While online shopping has had some impact on brick and mortar store shopping, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) revealed in a 2016 study that 91 percent of holiday shoppers made purchases in a physical store.

Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC said, “The story of bricks vs. clicks is an old one. The story is now one of a shopper getting the best of both worlds, using online research and capabilities to inform physical purchases. The American consumer has sent a clear message that the physical store remains at the epicenter of the shopping experience.”

The study revealed that key reasons for shopping at a physical store as seeing, touching and trying on merchandise, along with the ease of returning and exchanging products in store.

CBL Properties, which owns and manages Douglasville’s Arbor Place Mall, has announced that their regional shopping centers will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, Nov. 24.

“The support that we received last year when we made this decision was overwhelmingly positive,” said Stephen Lebovitz, President and CEO, CBL Properties, “It is based on this feedback from our retail partners, employees of CBL and retailers at our properties, as well as the customers in our markets that we made the decision to again close our centers on Thanksgiving Day.”

According to Ted Martin, general manager of Arbor Place Mall, department stores and other businesses with exterior mall entrances will have the option to open their stores on Thursday. Access to mall common areas will be restricted until 6 a.m. on Friday.

Martin said Arbor Place Mall will be open on Black Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

All of the mall department stores, except for Dillard’s, will be open at varying hours Thursday.

Belk at Arbor Place will be open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving and JC Penney will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. Macy’s will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Regal Cinemas will be open and showing movies on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 10:40 p.m.

Kohl’s on Chapel Hill Road will open Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. to midnight and will be open 24 hours on Black Friday. Douglasville’s Best Buy is closed on Thanksgiving, but will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. Target will be open on Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight. It will reopen on Friday at 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wal-Mart's Thanksgiving Day specials start at 6 p.m.


Tips for In-Mall Shopping

Molly Mitchell, marketing director with Arbor Place Mall shares some tips to make the mall shopping experience even better on Black Friday.

• Have a game plan. Check social media throughout the day.

• Budget — and stick to your budget once you walk into the mall.

• Do your homework and make sure you know where the deals are.

• Map it out. Have a game plan as to what stores you plan to shop and map them out.

• Make price comparisons for getting the best deal.

• Bring your patience with you. It’s the holidays — be nice!

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