NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Black Friday Holiday shopping (all times Eastern):
Dana Sari has finished all of her holiday shopping online. But she and her mother kept to their decades-old tradition of spending Black Friday together.
They arrived at the relatively quiet MacArthur Center mall in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, shortly after 8 a.m. where each bought a coffee and sat near a Nordstrom.
Sari, 43, a neuropsychologist who lives in Norfolk, says it’s not so much about the consumerism as it is the quality time with her mother during the holiday season.
Sari said she prefers buying gifts from online catalogues and boutique retailers rather than larger corporations, which she says value her less as a customer.
Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren tells The Associated Press that store traffic has been encouraging. He says shopper numbers have been strong at its flagship store Friday morning.
Lundgren said clothing sales have been good, with sportswear, dresses and even social occasion fashions doing well. But he’s hoping for some cold weather to help fuel more sales of winter items.
Lundgren believes that the rising stock market will help shoppers’ mood. Jeff Gennette, president of Macy’s who will become CEO early next year, believes there was pent-up demand after the contentious presidential election was over. He says consumers can now focus on other things.
Black Friday? Try Green Friday in Massachusetts.
Gov. Charlie Baker has declared the day Green Friday, and his administration is encouraging people across the state to buy their Christmas trees, holiday plants and wreaths at local farms.
Baker says Massachusetts’ nursery industry helps drive the economy. He says residents can make a difference by shopping for garland and other seasonal decorations at farms, farmers’ markets, roadside stands and nurseries instead of big box stores.
The state Department of Agriculture says the holidays create hundreds of seasonal jobs at the state’s nearly 400 Christmas tree farms.
It says the sector generates $1.4 million each year.
State officials also are urging people to have their used Christmas trees chipped so they can be burned as fuel or used as mulch or compost.
In Rhode Island, one of only three states that ban Thanksgiving Day retail sales, Victoria Davis got her holiday shopping started shortly after midnight Friday. She went from one mall to another looking for sales, finding few to her liking.
She and other shoppers who arrived after sunrise at the Garden City outdoor shopping mall in Cranston, Rhode Island, said they were glad their state — along with Massachusetts and Maine — doesn’t let retailers open on Thanksgiving Day.
“I don’t like the idea of it,” said Lauren Glynn. “I feel bad for the people who have to work.”
She and her husband, who are restaurateurs, came to the Cranston mall for fun, to soak up the experience and maybe find a few deals, but they said they plan to do most of their gift shopping online and at locally owned shops where they live in Bristol, Rhode Island.
The Swiss don’t do Thanksgiving, but some Swiss stores that have started offering American-style “Black Friday” discounts online have seen their sites freeze, slow down or crash under a surge in traffic.
The lure of the shopping-spree bandwagon caused snags at electronics and computer vendors in particular.
Microspot’s home page said its online shop was unavailable Friday due to “maintenance,” and a customer service representative said by phone the site was overloaded. Interdiscount’s site featured an “Access Denied” message.
Department store Manor, which started Black Friday deals last year, opted to look on the bright side.
“Victim of our success, we’ve run into lags on our site due to exceptionally high traffic,” spokeswoman Elle Steinbrecher said in an email.
Leah Olson says she’s planning to stick to her annual Christmas shopping budget of $300 to $400. Her stop at the Mall of America Friday morning followed some Thanksgiving night shopping trips to Target and a local mall.
Olson, who is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, said she had done some online shopping but preferred making in-person stops, saying she felt better deals were to be had that way — free shipping for online purchases aside.
She said she always likes to walk and go to the mall.
Brian Motzko is making his usual trip to the Mall of America in Minnesota early Friday while visiting relatives for Thanksgiving.
The Cedar Falls, Iowa resident says he’s doing all his Christmas shopping on Black Friday, buying gifts for himself, his wife and family “until my card blows up.” He says, “I’ve got two teenage girls. It’s whatever.”
Motzko says he scored 70 percent off cookware at Williams-Sonoma and was on the hunt for a Bluetooth speaker. He said the nation’s largest shopping center seemed less packed than in years past.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which started its Black Friday sales in stores on Thursday at 6 p.m., says shoppers were embracing different types of tech products.
Steve Bratspies, who is chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, says in addition to picking up Black Friday favorites like televisions and toys, shoppers were looking for drones, virtual reality products and hoverboards.
The company started its online sale at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and noted that more than 70 percent of traffic to Walmart.com during the Thursday event came from mobile devices.
Stephanie Sullivan says she’s searching for deals this holiday season on items for her son’s upcoming wedding. She said she planned to hit the Columbia Mall in Missouri on Friday after some shopping the night before.
Sullivan, her two adult sons and future daughter-in-law had driven from Kirksville, Missouri to Columbia for the shopping on Thanksgiving. She and her entourage toted luggage and bulging bags as they headed to their truck, driven by one of her sons, waiting in front of Kohl’s.
The 49-year-old said she saved $580 and spent a little under $200 on a four-piece luggage set, sweaters, pillows, boots and other things. She said she was buying for herself, but did purchase one sweater as a gift.
Sullivan said the family was trying to stay busy after the death of her husband in October. “and not focus on what we lost.”
Stores open their doors Friday for what is still one of the busiest days of the year, even as the start of the holiday season edges ever earlier.
Many stores are offering the same deals as in previous years, like $19.99 boots that remain a big attraction, cashmere sweaters, and sheets. For some shoppers, big discounts on electronics are the draw.
Stores like Macy’s, Walmart, Target and more were open Thursday evening in what they hope will be a new holiday tradition. Several shoppers were out looking for bargains on TVs. Other items that drew crowds were cellphones and Hatchimals — eggs with a small, animated animal inside that hatch when given attention.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, vies with the Saturday before Christmas as the biggest sales day.