About 250 shoppers were at the Springboro Pike Meijer in Moraine at 6 a.m. Thursday when deals started. STAFF PHOTO / HOLLY SHIVELY
Photo: Holly Shively
Photo: Holly Shively

Holiday tradition continues drawing Thanksgiving shoppers to stores

Thousands of Miami Valley shoppers shopped Thanksgiving deals Thursday, many continuing long-running family traditions.

Lines for Meijer’s Element TV with Roku, Apple Airpods and Nintendo Switch started forming around 4 a.m. Thursday morning. About 250 people were inside the Springboro Pike store when employees started doling out the deals at 6 a.m., said store director Mike Jodrey.

“Me and my daughter have been doing this for about six or seven years now. She makes me come out every year, but it so happened our TV died like two weeks ago, so we were looking for the best deal and they seem to have it here,” said Jason Tharp of Miamisburg, who was first in line at the Moraine Meijer for the 55-inch Element TV with Roku selling for $179.99 Thursday morning. The regular price for the TV is $449.99.

»RELATED: Early morning Meijer deals likely to draw thousands

Tharp was one of 39.6 million people expected to look for deals Thursday. Shoppers across the country are likely to spend about $1,048 each, including $659 on gifts, $227 on other holiday needs and $162 on non-gift purchase for themselves or their family.

Danielle Myers was also shopping with her sister as part of a family tradition at 6 a.m. Thursday when she went to Meijer for clothes and other deals for both herself and her kids.

“Over the last few years, I have noticed a decline in people coming out shopping versus I guess staying at home and online shopping,” Myers said. “But I noticed a big decline, especially from last year to this year. I mean last year it was really crowded through here and now it’s not very crowded at all.”

Last year the Best Buy near the Dayton Mall had its first customer in line at 10 p.m. Wednesday for its 5 p.m. Thursday opening. This year the line didn’t start until 1:30 p.m.

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JCPenney’s 2 p.m. opening last year had more than 1,000 shoppers in a line that wrapped around the Dayton Mall store, managers of the store estimated. This year the line seemed a little shorter, but was still at least 800 people, managers said.

The line still wrapped around the building this year as people lined up for coupons with up to $500. But this year JCPenney also had a staff in the store before it opened to handle a major influx of online sales that came when deals started online earlier this week, manager Myles Parker said.

Many retailers this year launched holiday sales early online and in-store incentivizing some shoppers to start earlier rather than wait until Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Online holiday sales at some stores started as early as October this year, with doorbusters matching those that could be found in stores.

Target, Kohl’s and Macy’s also opened at 5 p.m., Old Navy and Game Stop opened at 3 p.m., and Walmart opened at 6 p.m. Thursday.

While nationally the number of shoppers online and in store on Thanksgiving was expected to grow, Black Friday is expected to see a decrease in shoppers from last year, with 114.6 million people hitting stores, phones and computers for deals. That’s a drop from more than 116 million last year.

But it’s still the busiest shopping day of the year, with nearly triple the number of shoppers than Thanksgiving and nearly 67% more than Cyber Monday — the second most shopped day of the holiday period — according to the National Retail Federation.

»BIZ BEAT: Shoppers plan to start Thanksgiving rush early today

Thousands of shoppers may have turned out to stores Thursday with more shopping online from home, more than triple the number of shoppers are expected to shop Black Friday deals today.

“We typically see a rush right when we open,” said Brandy Gilbert, store manager of the Centerville Kohl’s. “We will pick back up Friday morning hot and heavy all day. I typically have a longer line than I do on Friday.”

Kohl’s remained open overnight after opening at 5 p.m. Thursday and will remain open through midnight tonight. Old Navy also was open all night and Meijer deals continue into today.

Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops will launch their 6-hour sale at 5 a.m. this morning. Target will reopen at 7 a.m. and Best Buy will follow at 8 a.m. More than a dozen of other stores that were closed on Thanksgiving will open for their Black Friday Deals including Barnes & Nobles, Burlington Coat Factory, Costco, HomeGoods and Harbor Freight Tools.

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