Black Friday parking lot

BLACK FRIDAY parking lot at Walmart Supercenter on U.S. 421 in Wilkesboro stayed nearly full all day, even by late afternoon, when this shot was taken.

Several local retailers reported a successful Black Friday, including more online transactions and comparable sales overall compared to the same day last year.

Black Friday kicked off a very successful weekend for the Walmart Supercenter on U.S. 421 in Wilkesboro, including a large volume of electronics and toys, said Steve Penland, manager of the store.

“The (rainy) weather put a little damper on it, but overall for us it was a very successful event, and customers were happy with our product offerings,” said Penland.

He said Black Friday sales were about the same as last year, but noted a 28% increase in online business. “Our online business is being driven by our pick-up tower and ‘dot com’ sales that come to our store with free shipping. Online is booming for us.”

WalletHub’s yearly list of best stores for Black Friday this year included Belk, which offered an average discount of over 60%. That hefty markdown led to more than 200 people lined up for the Wilkesboro store’s opening Thursday evening, said Belk Manager Jeff Beard.

Beard said the store gave away 200 gift cards Thursday and 100 more Friday to the first shoppers each day. In each batch of gift cards was a $500 card, and the same man won the $500 each day, said Beard, adding that this was a first for the store.

“Overall, I was pleased with the results,” he said. “The hottest things were our home items like kitchen electrics. Overall, we came in a little better than the average (Belk) in this region, mainly due to a big pickup day for us on Wednesday.”

He said online sales are the store’s fastest-growing segment and this “went smoothly from a tech perspective.”

Black Friday shoppers awoke early Friday in search of hot deals, kicking off a shortened shopping season since Thanksgiving fell on the last Thursday in November, the latest since 2013.

This year, Kohl’s stores in the U.S., including in Wilkesboro, began accepting returns from online retail giant Amazon. Now, when initiating returns online, Amazon customers can select the “Kohl’s Dropoff” option. Kohl’s associates pack, label and ship these returns for free.

It was the biggest Black Friday ever for online sales across the nation, with $7.4 billion in transactions rung up from smartphones, computers and tablets, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online sales.

Adobe said shoppers spent $3.6 billion buying online from small businesses on Saturday, an 18% increase from last year. More people are shopping on smartphones, which made up 41.2% of all e-commerce revenue Saturday, up from 22% from a year ago.

Last year’s Cyber Monday haul of $7.9 billion may be in jeopardy of losing its record for single-day online sales, predicted Adobe.

The National Retail Federation estimated over 165 million people shopping in stores and online from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. Fewer are entering brick-and-mortar stores, which saw traffic fall 2.1% on Black Friday, compared to a year ago.

The federation estimated retail sales in November and December will increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018 to a total that might exceed $730 billion.

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