PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 26, 2013

Local retailers brace for biggest shopping day of year

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

— Local retailers are gearing up for the expected multitude of shoppers.

Some of the stores will open late on Thanksgiving, while others will open early on Black Friday.

Lisa McFee, store leader at JCPenney in Central Mall, is preparing for the 25 hours in which the store will be open to shoppers. Doors open at 8 p.m. Thursday and close at 9 p.m. Friday.

JCPenney is working to make sure employees have a fun day at work.

“We have something really special planned for the team as they come in that evening. Some things we are keeping under wraps, build the excitement,” McFee said. “Prizes for employees will be given away every hour and we, in retail, love food, so we will be feeding them.”

Customers can check out door-buster values and prices such as 4-piece luggage sets for $39.99 and kitchen electronics for $9.99 after $10 mail-in rebate.

“We will have pallet after pallet and stacking it high so it will fly out of here,” she added. “And the snow globes are back. We will be giving away more than 2 million across the country.”

The free Disney snow globe give-aways will begin at 4 a.m. Friday

The store will also offer sales on women’s boots ranging from $19.99 to $39.99, she added.

T.J. Maxx, also located at Central Mall in Port Arthur, won’t be doing any promotional pricing but will offer standout gifts this year such as cashmere sweaters, cashmere bathrobes, cashmere scarfs and cashmere socks, Laura McDowell, manager of public relations for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said.

Customers can also check out the tech accessories for the whole family such as ear buds and karaoke machines. Jewelry and variety gift baskets have a wide range of prices, she added.

T.J. Maxx will be closed on Thanksgiving to allow associates to spend time with family but will open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

The key to T.J. Maxx, she said, “is the amazing value.”

“There is merchandise that is available at a much higher price elsewhere but we are able to offer it as a savings,” she said. “It’s not what you spend but what you are getting.”

The holiday season is expected to be a good one for retailers, with 140 million shoppers heading online and to stores this Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation

“Though many people have already started to check off items from their holiday shopping lists, we fully expect to see many more come out on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend to take in the festive sights and sounds — and to take advantage of unbeatable deals,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. “As the official kickoff to the holiday season, retailers are prepared to pull out all the stops for their online and store shoppers, including offering sweepstakes with cash prizes, free gifts with purchase and even exclusive opportunities to score top gift items before everyone else.”

According to the survey, Black Friday will be the biggest day of the weekend: 69.1 percent plan to shop on Black Friday, or approximately 97 million shoppers. Additionally 43.8 percent will shop on Saturday (61 million) and 24.2 percent will shop on Sunday (34 million).  And, of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, 7 in 10, or 69.2 percent, say they shopped online and in stores on Thanksgiving in 2012.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews