Shoppers following rules, but Crabtree Valley still crowded on Black Friday
Posted November 27, 2020 4:50 a.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2020 10:45 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Black Friday had a slow start in the Triangle, but by the afternoon, Crabtree Valley Mall was packed with shoppers.
This year, stores started offering their Black Friday deals early, with doorbusters available both in-store and online. Many sales started before Black Friday, while other sales are extended for days to come.
COVID-19 is dramatically reshaping Black Friday. While analysts predict record online sales, there are plenty of people shopping the old-fashioned way -- in person.
By 2 p.m. on Friday, crowds of shoppers filled the inside of the mall. Shoppers were wearing masks and stores were adhering to 50% capacity limits, but the mall was still packed.
One shopper, Leticha Chandler, said she is very COVID-19 conscious but decided to shop in person at Best Buy anyway because she couldn’t find the television her daughter wanted online.
"It was good. It wasn’t that crowded," she said. "People are socially distancing. We actually just had one sales person who helped us through the entire store."
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday shopping sales could increase 5% overall this year despite the pandemic.
Shopping trends are also changing. Items like electronics, appliances, home furnishings and other items you use at home are huge sellers this year because that’s where so many people are spending the majority of their time.
Usually, long lines are reported at stores across the Triangle before sunrise on Black Friday, but with coronavirus cases climbing, it was difficult to find the usual crowds on Friday morning.
At Crabtree Valley Mall, Courtside and GameStop were two popular stores Friday morning. At Courtside, sneakers were marked down by as much as $40, and the PlayStation 5 sold out quickly at GameStop and other stores across the area.
At the Best Buy at Crabtree Valley only 250 customers were allowed inside the store at a time.
An Old Navy staff member said, even with the 50% off deals for Black Friday, he was surprised that the store was close to reaching capacity. Shoppers will have to wait in line outside if the store reaches capacity.
"It's honestly kind of wild," he said. "Everything's just chaotic."
One family showed up at Crabtree to shop in face shields.
"We came out because there was a couple of things we wanted to purchase," one member said. "We go in and out. If it's too crowded in a store, we're leaving."