The perfect time to shop for Black Friday deals in Fresno may be between 9 and 11 a.m. after the Thanksgiving Day rush and the 6 a.m. morning deals.
Highway 41 was clear around 10 a.m. from downtown Fresno to River Park and checkout lines were short. But by noon, motorists were creeping along the highway from Ashlan Avenue north to Fashion Fair Mall. And parking spaces in River Park, near H&M, started to fill up as shoppers and children, dressed in Christmas clothing to see Santa Claus, trickled in for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
An estimated 69 percent of Americans – 164 million people – plan to shop or are considering shopping sometime between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation.
This year, online shopping is expected to be at its highest ever, up 6.8 percent from last year, the retail federation said.
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Sisters Alex and Kayleigh Dayka from Clovis and their friend Tiffany Bamford of Kingsburg started shopping at Barnes & Noble at 8 a.m. The store had 50 percent-off deals on collectible items, Alex Dayka said. By 10 a.m. the friends were at Bath & Body Works for the buy three, get three free sale.
Last year it was packed. This year, we can breathe and smell each candle.
Tiffany Bamford of Kingsburg
Bamford, who shopped at Fashion Fair on Black Friday last year, said it seemed like there were fewer people out this year. “Last year it was packed,” Bamford said. “This year, we can breathe and smell each candle.”
D’drea Black of Valley Springs, northeast of Stockton, shops every Black Friday with her mother, Connie Chavez of Fresno, and daughter, Cassie. Around 11:30 a.m. Friday at Fashion Fair, Black said that if there was a lull in shoppers or craziness, she didn’t notice it.
The family started shopping at 6 a.m. when Target opened. An hour later, they were at Fashion Fair. Retailers have changed shopping hours, choosing to open Thanksgiving afternoon or evening, close overnight and reopen in the morning, she said.
“We used to come out at 4:30 a.m.,” said Black, who does not shop on Thanksgiving. Now, “it’s busiest at 6 a.m.”