Triangle area stores expect the return of in-person Black Friday shoppers

Local News

CARY N.C. (WNCN) – One of the biggest shopping days is less than one week away and after many stores closed their doors during the pandemic last year, 2 million more Americans are expected to shop this year between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday than they did in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation.

This year, stores are prepping for people to want that in-person experience again. 

“We’ve seen a traffic increase since then, so we are expecting to be very busy and (have) long lines on Black Friday,” Ernie Brunetti with Bass Pro Shops in Cary said.

Shoppers are also aware that lines may be longer, but are more excited to be in-person than they are worried about wait times.

“You have the ability to touch things, to see with your own eyes. So I would definitely like to use the opportunity to go to a store,” shopper Maria Popova said.

Last year, the number of shoppers nationwide not only dropped, but online-only sales soared by more than 40 percent than previous years, according to the National Retail Federation.

“No we didn’t go to a store, we did all the shopping on the Internet,” Popova said, making this year’s in-person experience more important to her.

Although stores are opening early again and offering in-person deals all week, the COVID-19 pandemic has still made its mark on shopping habits. 

“With the pandemic and what’s happened over the past 18 months, we’ve seen a shift a little bit more towards online,” Brunetti said. “But now it seems to be coming back, we’re seeing a lot more people in our store.”

For Bass Pro Shops, masking requirements depend on where you live. 

“It’s right down at not only the county, but the city (with) different ordinances. So every location is following their (specific) ordinance,” Brunetti said.

But you’ll still see Santa protected. 

“This is a yearly tradition for a lot of families so that’s why it was so important to our founder to keep it going even through the pandemic, we tried to make the best of the situation to do contactless visits,” Brunetti said.

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