DARKE COUNTY — That time of year is nearly upon us once again.
Many look forward to spending a quiet day celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends this coming Thursday.
For some, however, “that time of year” is all about getting a killer deal on their Christmas shopping.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) projects that Americans will spend $630.5 billion on retail items during the November-December season.
This frenzy of buying is expected to represent 19 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales.
“With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “However, while economic indicators have improved in several areas, Americans remain somewhat torn between their desire and their ability to spend; the fact remains consumers still have the weight of the economy on their minds, further explaining the complex retail spending environment we are seeing right now.
“We expect families to spend prudently and deliberately, though still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago,” he added.
“Black Friday,” or the day following Thanksgiving, has become an American tradition, for better or worse. The trend of late, however, is for many retailers to spread the savings over a longer period of time, including on Thanksgiving Day itself, not to mention “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday.”
The Cyber Monday event has increased in popularity, as many people seek to avoid fighting large crowds and sometimes inclement weather. The NRF is forecasting online sales to increase between 6 and 8 percent, or as much as $105 billion, this holiday season.
Some larger retail establishments in the region will be open on Thanksgiving. Walmart and Meijer, typically open 24 hours, will begin their Black Friday sales on that day. Meijer opens the discount floodgates at 6 a.m., with Walmart’s kicking off their special sales at 6 p.m.
Kroger will be closed briefly, locking up at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and reopening at 7 a.m. Friday morning.
Rural King will be open Thanksgiving from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., then 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday.
Goody’s will be open on the holiday, from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., and then on Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Kohl’s employees will be busy, as the retail establishment remains open 30 hours straight, from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving all the way to midnight on Black Friday.
At the Miami Valley Center Mall in Piqua, Elder-Beerman (opens at 5 p.m.) and Penney’s (opens at 3 p.m.) will be open on Thanksgiving with business hours extending to 10 p.m. Black Friday. The mall’s Sears store will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday to midnight, and Black Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Many local retailers, however, are eschewing the “Open on Thanksgiving Day” shopping trend. In Greenville, Ace Hardware, Francis Furniture, Furniture Express, Hansbarger’s Home Solutions, KitchenAid, Lowe’s, and Tractor Supply Company, among others, are businesses whose doors will be closed Thursday, but open for shoppers on Black Friday.