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Shoppers Expected Out In Force On Black Friday


And chandelier bidding is not something the rest of us will have to worry about since the most elite auctions selling the priciest art wouldn't even let most of us in the door, as opposed to, say, door busters. NPR's Sonari Glinton is on the line with us from a Walmart in Colorado Springs where he's been since the middle of the night. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: So you're in Colorado Springs for Thanksgiving with your family, which you do every year. And you do this story for us every year. How does the scene this morning compare to years past?

GLINTON: Well, it's just not quite as busy as several years ago when it's sort of - the first idea of door busters came out. I mean, there were long, long lines before - now, not so much. I mean, at about 10 o'clock I went into a Target just to see how things were going. And it was just like a regular Thursday night at a Target. I mean, people are expected to go out shopping but not in the same way that they have in years past.

MONTAGNE: What then is going on here with shopping habits?

GLINTON: Well, what's going on is definitely online. I mean, we already have the numbers in. So far, they're up 30 percent over the same time last year. You know, more than half the people say they're going to shop. But where they're going to shop and whether they're going to do it on Black Friday or Saturday or just stay at home and do it online, I mean, that's the difference between now and years past.

MONTAGNE: So maybe a little tired of the crowds and all the commotion?

GLINTON: Oh, absolutely. More than half the people say they're going to stay home so they can avoid the crowds.

MONTAGNE: And, of course, all of this is important because 80 percent of retail sales for the year, according to the Bureau of Census, come during the coming weeks of the holiday period. And it was dubbed Black Friday because retailers typically go from red to black in this period of time. So what about this year? What - how do things look?

GLINTON: Things look better this year than they did last year. If you remember last year, a month or so before the holiday, there was a government shutdown. And then there was genuinely cold, bad weather throughout the country. And that dampened retail sales. And now there is a sense that they're not those problems - unemployment is down. You know, that the economy is showing some signs of getting better. And retailers are hoping to benefit as well.

MONTAGNE: Sonari, thanks very much.

GLINTON: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: That NPR's Sonari Glinton on retailing's frontline this Black Friday in Colorado Springs. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sonari Glinton is a NPR Business Desk Correspondent based at our NPR West bureau. He covers the auto industry, consumer goods, and consumer behavior, as well as marketing and advertising for NPR and Planet Money.