Black Friday deal hunt
Shoppers scour stores for sales in Central Florida
Blair Ballin and her mother’s Black Friday included buying early Christmas gifts for each other after starting the day at about 6:30 a.m. at the Kohl’s in Altamonte Springs.
The 24-year-old Apopka resident landed an espresso machine there from mom, marked down from about $250 to $100 before another 10% discount.
“I got the very last one,” she said. “I had to like hunt it down.”
Shoppers hunted deals across Central Florida on Friday, visiting Walmart and other stores and malls like the one in Altamonte Springs.
An estimated 165.3 million people were expected to shop Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, based on an annual survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
“We just like getting our hands on stuff because you can actually like feel the sweaters. You can try it on versus just looking at it online, where it’s convenient, but you don’t really get that Christmas spirit and that rush of getting items.” — Sam Baldwin, Orlando resident
Online business during the shopping weekend looked to be on the rise based on early figures. Consumers spent $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, up 14.5% over last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which analyzes visits to more than 4,500 retail sites.
Black Friday online sales were at $600 million by 9 a.m. Friday and were on track to hit $7.4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics.
About 20% of total holiday sales are expected to be spent online, said James Bohnaker, an economist with IHS Markit. He added that discounts started earlier than Black Friday.
“Fewer people are treating Black Friday as like the only day, or the only weekend, that you can find good deals,” he said.
All those online sales didn’t stop people like Blair Ballin, her mother, 55-year-old Audrey Ballin of Apopka, and aunt, 61-year-old Kathy Magnuson of Lady Lake, from hitting the stores. Blair Ballin reciprocated her early Christmas gift by getting her mom an instant pot, which was also marked down.
By the time the three women paused later that morning at the Altamonte Mall, they’d added shopping bags from Bath & Body Works, Dillard’s and Macy’s. The in-person shopping helped the family get in the Christmas spirit.
“We get to hang out together,” Ballin said. “They’re a lot of fun.”
More stops were planned for the family, including at Hobby Lobby, Big Lots and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Inside the Altamonte Mall, retailers were offering a variety of discounts. Aeropostale advertised 60-70% off merchandise while Banana Republic offered 50% off.
At the Casselberry Walmart off Semoran Boulevard, Heather Peeples perused the discounted movies shortly after 8:30 a.m. Prices ranged from as low as $1.96 to $19.96.
“These DVDs are what brings me out,” she said. “Usually, I come like 7, 8 o’clock [in the morning] and there’s still plenty here.”
The 47-year-old Longwood resident, who has a 5-year-old son and an “almost” 13-year-old daughter, picked out movies like “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” for $5.96, and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” for $7.96.
She shopped with an important item in hand: her coffee.
“One year I did the midnight thing and the lines were all the way around the store and I didn’t get anything spectacular,” Peeples said.
But being out on Black Friday didn’t mean that Peeples also wouldn’t do some Christmas shopping online.
“I have a whole lot on my Amazon list as well,” Peeples said.
Customers also came out to Orlando Fashion Square.
Sam Baldwin, a 26-year-old Orlando resident, was looking for an ugly Christmas sweater with his wife in the Dillard’s Clearance Center. Signs outside that store advertised an additional 50% off merchandise.
“We just like getting our hands on stuff because you can actually like feel the sweaters,” he said. “You can try it on versus just looking at it online, where it’s convenient but you don’t really get that Christmas spirit and that rush of getting items.”
Kathy Magnuson, Blair Ballin and Audrey Ballin go shopping on Black Friday at Altamonte Mall. “We get to hang out together,” 24-year-old Blair Ballin said. “They’re a lot of fun.”
“These DVDs are what brings me out,” said Heather Peeples. She perused the bargains at Walmart on Black Friday 2019.