GREENFIELD — Bargain hunters were out in full force over the weekend, making Black Friday weekend an even larger success than analysts had forecast. More shoppers than ever searched for the best bargains over the four-day stretch, and many were back at it again Monday, finding plenty of deals still to be had both online and in stores.
Tina Dodrill, Greenfield, was at Wal-Mart Monday picking through the remains of the weekend’s shopping madness. Dodrill had been steadily shopping since arriving at Wal-Mart Thursday night, one of a record-breaking number of shoppers who hit the stores Thanksgiving night hoping to score deep discounts on everything from clothes and toys to electronics.
“They said ‘Go,’ and it was like a circus,” Dodrill said.
It got a little too crazy for Dodrill, who said she wasn’t one of the lucky few to pick up the smartphone she had her eye on. But it didn’t deter her: Dodrill found other worthwhile deals at several other area stores while shopping Thursday night, stretching into Friday morning. She continued shopping throughout the weekend, including on Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Dodrill said she’d already gotten her online shopping out of the way early on Monday.
“They (prices) might be a tad more, but it was still worth it,” she said.
Wal-Mart was one of several big-name businesses with deals designed to lure shoppers into stores on Thanksgiving. The retail giant kicked off Black Friday specials earlier than ever, starting the first round of deals at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Goody’s also had special deals Thursday night, opening from 8 p.m. to midnight. It was the first time Goody’s was open on Thanksgiving, and Greenfield store manager Amy Dahlenburg said crowds exceeded expectations.
“We were a lot busier than we expected,” Dahlenburg said. “People just kept filing in as soon as we opened up.”
Without having a previous Thanksgiving night sale for comparison, Dahlenburg said Goody’s wasn’t sure what to expect, but sales were up almost 500 percent over the store’s goal. Dahlenburg said that for the entire weekend, sales bested last year by 17 percent.
“It’s been a great success,” she said.
Goody’s isn’t the only store to notice strong sales at the start of holiday shopping. According to The National Retail Federation, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year. Of those, 28 percent were at stores by midnight on Black Friday.
One person you wouldn’t catch shopping over the weekend, though, was Mark Noland. The Arlington resident was perusing discount CDs at Greenfield Wal-Mart Monday, but he said that’s as close as he gets to Black Friday shopping.
“I don’t like crowds,” he said. “I don’t care how good the deals are, you won’t find me here (on Black Friday).”
There are plenty of people, like Noland, who aren’t up to braving the infamous Black Friday crowds, but still want great deals. More than ever, they were expected to take advantage of Monday’s online deals. A survey conducted by BIGinsight reported than 129 million people planned to shop Cyber Monday’s online deals, up from 122 million last year.
“The momentum from a solid Black Friday weekend certainly looks like it will carry on into Cyber Monday,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director, Pam Goodfellow. “Millions of shoppers will be visiting retailers’ websites from their smartphones, tablets, home computers and work computers to check out special Cyber Monday promotions and make the most of their holiday shopping budgets.”