Cooler temperatures didn’t stop Liberty County shoppers from taking advantage of Black Friday deals at area stores the day after Thanksgiving.
The National Retail Foundation states that holiday sales are expected to increase 4.1 percent this year over 2013’s numbers. Sales in November and December can make up as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales and comprise almost 20 percent of the retail industry’s $3.2 trillion annual revenues, according to the NRF’s website.
Locally, shoppers arose early to get in on the money-saving action.
Patricia Durham said she and a friend were at the PX on Fort Stewart at 4 a.m., and by 10 a.m. she had already bought all of her kids’ Christmas toys. Durham was shopping at Tractor Supply Company on Oglethorpe Highway, “just looking for good deals,” she said.
“The day is going really well so far,” said Tractor Supply Co. store manager Matt Gerig, adding that the store already had met half of its goal for the day by 10 a.m.
“We opened at 6 this morning, and there was a line of 25 people here waiting to get in,” he continued. Gerig said the most popular item of the day was a gun safe that was marked down $300. Reduced-priced smokers and log-splitters also were big sellers, he said.
Gerig said he has been with Tractor Supply Co. for about 10 years, having previously worked with the company in Statesboro and other locations across the state.
“I’m prior service myself, so it means a lot to come here to Hinesville and support the troops of Fort Stewart,” he said.
Across the street from Tractor Supply Co., Lowes’ manager Ed Derham reported a strong start for his store on the biggest shopping day of the year.
“We’ve got a lot of good buys, and we put a lot of them at the front of the store to try and make it easy for the customers to get,” he said, adding that Lowes opened at 5 a.m. — an hour earlier than normal.
Derham said that, unlike many retailers across the nation, Lowes did not open on Thanksgiving Day.
“Fortunately, our company has not decided to do that,” he said. “But we’ve had a good morning and a good turnout so far.”
Ruby Barcus and her father, Midway resident Willie Ware, perused the refrigerators at Lowes, but Barcus said she was not out deal-seeking.
“I just came here to make one return and get some poinsettias,” she said, noting the store’s 99-cent sale on the traditional Christmas plants. “After this, we’re going home to have breakfast, lunch and dinner all at once — leftovers,” she added with a smile.
Barcus, who was in town visiting from her home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, said she planned on keeping the day low-key.
“After (brunch), probably take a nice nap,” she said.