BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – The shopping countdown is on. Despite the slow economic recovery, Americans will be hitting the stores this holiday season.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will total more than $616 billion, up 4.1 percent from last year. Online shopping is expected to grow as much as $105 billion.
There weren’t big holiday crowds early Thursday evening in the Valley as some retailers opened their doors early for the Black Friday rush. However, a number of people lined up in Boardman to be some of the first ones through the door.
Jessica (no last name given) got to JCPenney at the Southern Park Mall 30 minutes before the store opened at 5 p.m. She wanted to be one of the first in line to quickly cross things off her list.
“Leather boots and clothes for my 5-year-old daughter,” she said.
On top of door buster deals, customers received coupons with up to $100 savings. Lucky customer Lynn Esposito of Lowellville couldn’t contain her excitement when she scored $100 off.
“I was completely shocked. I didn’t think it was real,” Esposito said.
Hot ticket items at the department store were $20 boots and $3 bath towels. This was Ralph Arena’s first Thanksgiving shopping experience. All he said was, “I am scared.”
The department store opened an hour before the rest of the mall. Customers began waiting in line around 5:30 p.m. for the official mall opening.
Victoria’s Secret Pink Store was a big draw but not on the list for Victoria Remley of Poland.
“Ten dollars off at American Eagle and I got some socks,” Remley said.
Some shoppers said they didn’t have to wait in long lines and the crowd wasn’t bad which was good news for Mary Warren.
“I haven’t done this in about four or five years because of the crowds,” Warren said.
Stores were given the option to close at 1 a.m. The mall will be open until 10 p.m. Friday.