What you need to do know before holiday shopping this year

Black Friday has lost its luster for some shoppers, but this week remains an important time for area retailers as they ready for predicted record spending this holiday season.

Area malls and stores are changing their hours and offering pre-Black Friday sales as they get ready for the “Super Bowl” of retail sales laster this week when more than 165 million U.S. shoppers are expected to spend money.

“Stores are responding to the fact that ‘hey, we can’t fit everyone into the store on Black Friday so why not continue to have the deals on Saturday and Sunday or even days before Thanksgiving,’ recognizing that a lot of people just don’t want to deal with that insanity of Black Friday itself,” said Riley Dugan, a marketing professor at the University of Dayton who studies retail trends.

Both the Mall at Fairfield Commons and Dayton Mall will be open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving, and will open at 6 a.m. Black Friday, 8 a.m. on Small Business Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.

“Our extended holiday hours, provide shoppers a multitude of shopping times to work with their busy schedules,” said Dave Duebber, general manager of the Dayton Mall. “Many of our tenants also offer “click and collect” or ‘Buy online, pick up in-store’ which saves time and in many instances allows shoppers to avoid delivery charges.”

Like previous years, holiday hiring and sales started earlier this month as retailers looked for ways to become more competitive during a time when the National Retail Federation estimates $730 billion is up for grabs.

“It’s really a whole week of shopping opportunities that are geared toward whatever is convenient for you, the shopper,” said Alex Boehnke, spokesman of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “Consumers should be excited that again we’re entering a time where retailers are really courting their business and are going to be going above and beyond to get that business. And (the consumers) are going to be the ones to benefit.”

Ready for shoppers

Both the Mall at Fairfield Commons and Dayton Mall will be open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving, and will open at 6 a.m. Black Friday, 8 a.m. on Small Business Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.

“Our extended holiday hours, provide shoppers a multitude of shopping times to work with their busy schedules,” said Dave Duebber, general manager of the Dayton Mall. “Many of our tenants also offer “click and collect” or ‘Buy online, pick up in-store’ which saves time and in many instances allows shoppers to avoid delivery charges.”

Even as mall vacancies have reached records as the holidays approach, both malls have found success in filling their vacancies, including the lower floor at the former Sears that launched the Round1 Entertainment concept this weekend,

“The Mall at Fairfield Commons has maintained a stable occupancy given a challenging retail environment impacting the country,” said Leanne Rubosky, general manger of the Mall at Fairfield Commons. “We have a great tenant lineup with a dynamic mix of retailers, restaurants, entertainment, services and local businesses. We continue to explore ways to further diversify tenancy over time including the Elder-Beerman space.”

»Holiday Shopping Guide 2019: Everything you need to know

Economic impact

Ohio shoppers are expected to spend a record $25.3 billion on gifts and other holiday needs this year, a 0.8% jump from 2018, according to a study from the University of Cincinnati Economics Center and Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. The peak of the season is this week, beginning with Thanksgiving on Thursday through Cyber Monday Dec.2.

Nearly $11 billion will likely be spent between Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus alone as Miami Valley shoppers head to those stores in the upcoming month, according to the study.

Those dollars bring sales tax revenues to the state and area counties, a number that’s been growing since 2015. Between 2009 and 2015 tax revenues declined in Ohio, but as consumer confidence grew, employment and wage conditions improved and online retailers like Amazon began collecting and sending sales tax to the Department of Taxation, the state’s tax income has grown, the study said.

To handle the increase in spending, retailers were expected to hire up to 590,000 people, including thousands in the Miami Valley to work at stores, warehouses and call centers. Many times, especially in today’s economy where most people who want a job have one, those part-time seasonal positions can transition into full-time permanent jobs.

»STORE HOURS: Here’s the Thanksgiving and Black Friday hours for more than 2 dozen area stores

“When you have increased spending in a community with local companies, that money stays local,” said Chris Kershner, executive vice president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. “It helps benefit local employers; it helps benefit local employees; it helps provide for families. The more that consumers can do to keep that spend local certainly matters for the economic health of the community.”

The holidays account for about 20% of annual retail sales, and up to 30% for hobby, toy and game retailers.

With large portions of sales at stake during winter, “the way you want to shop” gets easier every year, Boehnke said. Retailers have been adjusting to changing consumer shopping habits for a decade, including moving sales earlier in the year and launching online doorbusters long before Thanksgiving.

Walmart has been running pre-Black Friday doorbusters online since October, Kohl’s started November with a Black Friday preview sale featuring its famous $15 Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent, Target ran a two-day sale the first weekend of November and Amazon has been running daily Holideals.

Even with Thanksgiving marking the official start to the five-day holiday peak that ends with Cyber Monday, new deals will be launching all week.

»RELATED: Area shoppers expected to spend $1.7B during holiday season

Deals start early

Amazon’s official Black Friday deal has already started. The online giant launched its sales on Alexa products, Amazon brands and other electronics, toys household and fashion items Friday, leaving them live for one week through Black Friday. Other deeper discount deals will launch throughout the day on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to a statement.

While Walmart’s Black Friday deals don’t start in stores until 6 p.m. Thursday, shoppers can take advantage of the deals online as early as 10 p.m. Wednesday. Kohl’s deals also start at 1:01 a.m. Thursday online, but won’t start in stores until 5 p.m. Thursday.

Target and Best Buy will open at 5 p.m. Thursday, but both will have online sales that last all day. Meijer has sales all week, with in-store doorbusters launching at 6 a.m. Thursday.

JCPenney ran “Mad Dash Deals” in store and online over the weekend in a “Race to Black Friday.” The store’s major deals will launch at 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day in store and Wednesday online.

»SCAM ALERT: Fraud picks up as holidays approach

Online shopping

The advance start of online sales is evidence of shifting consumer shopping habits where buying gifts from a phone is more convenient than heading to stores and fighting the crowds for many people. About 56% of consumers said they would shop online, according to NRF.

“Holiday shopping is all over the place…go out to stores to get some ideas, buy some stuff in the stores depending on deals and whatnot, use Amazon for certain things and other webpages, too,” said shopper Jared Shank of Beavercreek. “I generally avoid it as far as Black Friday and the stores. Cyber Monday, I have done…that’s easy, you can just sit there and click away and get what you need.”

Shank and others who shop online have forced retailers to increase options when it comes to shopping online to stay competitive, including delivering packages in shorter times and offering alternate pickup locations.

“Obviously technology plays a key role in attracting different customers,” said Brandy Gilbert, store manager of the Centerville Kohl’s. “We have our buy online pick up in store, so customers can buy from the comfort of their home, because who doesn’t want to shop from the comfort of their own home, especially when it’s cold.”

Kohl’s pickup can be ready in as little as an hour, Gilbert said. Others like Old Navy, Michaels, Walmart, Target, Meijer and many other stores also have options to buy online and pickup at the store, sometimes without leaving the car.

Kohl’s also now accepts Amazon returns, taking away the hassle of packaging and shipping unwanted items.

“Online pricing has been a lot cheaper, it seems like, this year, and most of them are free shipping, so that kind of draws you to the online shopping,” said Dayton-area shopper Sandra Berger.

»RELATED: Early returns, fewer days after Thanksgiving could delay shipments

But Berger still hits the stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday every year.

“That’s kind of like a family tradition. My kids come in and we go Thursday evening and we do our Black Friday shopping,” she said. “It’s kind of neat…We go to the single stores, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target.”

After going home to sleep late Thursday, sometimes Berger’s family will get up early on Friday to head back out before spending Friday night at home with family.

“Black Friday, we still anticipate will be the top day,” Boehnke said. “But Cyber Monday continues to grow in popularity, as well as more and more stores actually being physically open on Thankgiving.”

How busy will it be?

Even as online shopping grows, stores will be busy again this year, several retail experts said.

Managers at both Kohl’s and Walmart said lines start forming hours before sales begin and stores will be packed at the start of doorbusters.

»RELATED: Retailers continue to up toy game, even with the return of Toys “R” Us

Kohl’s, Walmart and other retailers, logistics operations and call centers across the Miami Valley have hired thousands of seasonal workers to handle the increase in demand and U.S. consumers plan to spend up to 4.2% more than last year.

More than 165 million people are expected to shop the five days of sales, about 1 million more than the 164 million people expected to shop last year.

Thanksgiving Day will see a 4.6 million more shoppers this year than last and 7.6 million more than 2017. The Sunday in the five-day run will also see a slight jump in the number of shoppers heading to stores or shopping online.

If shoppers want to miss the crowds, but still want to head to stores for the best deals, Miamisburg’s Walmart manager Bud Klorer said shoppers should head to stores later Thanksgiving Day, beyond 9 p.m.

“Know what you’re looking for, allow us to use that,” Klorer said. “If you know what you’re looking for, we’ll make it really easy to be able to just grab it up.”


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Unmatched coverage

Count on the Dayton Daily News to bring you the most up-to-date information regarding holiday shopping, including store hours, deals and employment opportunities. Check daytondailynews.com/retail/ for holiday shopping updates.

Store hours

Bass Pro Shops

Thanksgiving: Opens at 6 a.m.

Black Friday: Open 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Best Buy

Thanksgiving: Opens at 5 p.m.

Black Friday: Opens at 8 a.m.


Thanksgiving: Opens at 6 a.m.

Black Friday: 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Game Stop

Thanksgiving: Opens at 3 p.m.

Black Friday: Opens at 7 a.m.


Thanksgiving: Opens at 5 p.m.

Black Friday: Sales continue from open on Thanksgiving to 1 p.m. Friday


Thanksgiving: Opens at 5 p.m.

Black Friday: Opens at 6 a.m.

Old Navy

Thanksgiving: Opens at 3 p.m.

Black Friday: Stays open from Thanksgiving through 11 p.m.


Thanksgiving: 5 p.m. Thursday through 1 a.m. Friday

Black Friday: Reopens at 7 a.m.


Thanksgiving: Regular hours but deals start at 6 p.m.

Black Friday: Regular hours

Dayton Mall

Thanksgiving: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Black Friday: 8 a.m.

Mall at Fairfield Commons

Thanksgiving: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Black Friday: 8 a.m.

The Greene Town Center

Thanksgiving: Center closed but some stores will open

Black Friday: 8 a.m.

Cincinnati Premium Outlets

Thanskgiving: 6 p.m. will remain open for 28 hours until 10 p.m. on Black Friday

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