Black Friday gets off to an early start

November 23, 2018

Lori Wolfe/The Herald-Dispatch Terri Hager of Crown City, Ohio, won a $500 coupon at JC Penney on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

BARBOURSVILLE — Getting an early start to Black Friday shopping paid off for one lucky J.C. Penney shopper Thursday when she opened the coupon she got at the door to find $500 off a purchase of $500 under the peel-off sticker.

“I was shocked,” said the recipient, Terri Hager, of Crown City, Ohio. “I didn’t know whether to cry or — I didn’t know what to do. I got dumbfounded. I told my son and he was like, nuh-uh.”

Hager said she usually is unlucky, and it’s actually been an unlucky year. A home health worker, her typical 70-plus hours a week got cut back, making things a little tighter this holiday season.

With tears welling up in her eyes, she said being able to purchase $500 worth of goods was going to make a big difference, especially for her two sons.

“It means a lot,” she said.

Hager was one of more than a hundred shoppers who lined up for the coupons before the store opened on Thanksgiving Day. Each customer was given a random coupon, while supplies lasted - the lowest amount being $10 off $10.

Opening at 2 p.m., J.C. Penney was the first store to open at the Huntington Mall - even before the mall itself opened. Several other stores, such as Best Buy and Kohl’s, opened at 5 p.m.

Kyle Postlewaite was first in line. With three kids ages 9, 10 and 12, he was hoping to find Nintendo Switch accessories before heading to Walmart and GameStop, then back home to finish the turkey.

“I missed Black Friday last year, so I’m trying to take advantage this year,” he said.

Others, like Niraz Nepal, a Marshall University student from Nepal, had already finished Thanksgiving dinner and wanted to see what good deals he could find. He was looking for kitchen appliances, but specifically a pressure cooker.

Despite numbers of in-store shoppers falling a bit last year, the National Retail Federation forecasts sales will be up 4.1 percent this year. Consumers plan to spend an average of $1,007.24 this holiday season, according to the NRF’s annual survey, half in-store and half online.

For the 12th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 60 percent of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 53 percent, books/movies/music (37 percent), electronics (29 percent), home decor (23 percent), jewelry (22 percent), personal care or beauty items (19 percent), sporting goods (18 percent) and home improvement items (17 percent).

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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