BRAINTREE, MA — This holiday season looks and feels different from past years, but some malls and outlets are sticking to some semblance of a Black Friday tradition.
Black Friday falls on Nov. 27 this year, and while many major retailers are scaling back their hours due to the pandemic, a majority still plan to be open for the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
In Braintree, the South Shore Plaza will have most stores open at 6 a.m., and the mall will remain open until 9 p.m. Check out the store hours below. Patch still recommends calling stores individually to confirm the hours.
DSW: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
GameStop: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Gap: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m
Macy's: 5 a.m. to midnight
Nordstrom: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Old Navy: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sephora: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Target: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Victoria's Secret: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Most national retailers are doing their best to curb crowds this year as coronavirus cases surge in most states. Many are putting in action alternative strategies — such as extending availability of online "doorbuster" deals and offering curbside pickup and delivery — in order to keep shoppers and employees safe.
"We'll still find steep discounts the day after Thanksgiving," Sara Skirboll, a retail and shopping expert with RetailMeNot, told The Associated Press. "But for 2020, Black Friday is not the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season. It's already underway, and so are the deals."
Last year, U.S. households spent an average of $511 on gifts during the winter holiday shopping season, according to Deloitte, a consultancy firm. This year, that number is projected to be about the same, with one notable uptick.
According to AP, the National Retail Federation projects more than 60 percent of consumers plan to purchase the majority of their holiday items online, compared with 56 percent last year.
If you are planning to shop in person, do your best to be prepared, Skirboll said.
"If you are someone who really enjoys strolling through store aisles and browsing to find the right gift, you may need to readjust your thinking," Skirboll said. "If you must go out in public to shop, create a list before heading to the store, and get in and out as quickly as possible."
To avoid overspending on holiday gifts, it’s important to make a list, set a budget and stick to it. Also, know your shopping triggers. For example, many people can’t resist a sale. But not all bargains are created equal, and shoppers should be wary of the “buy more, save more” types of deals.
“You think you are getting a better value when you see $10 off $50 or $20 off $50, but it’s the same percent discount, so don’t let that discount claim make you spend more,” consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch told CNBC.