PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — In Rhode Island, one of only three states that ban Thanksgiving Day retail sales, Victoria Davis got her holiday shopping started shortly after midnight Friday.
She went from one mall to another looking for sales, finding few to her liking.
She and other shoppers who arrived after sunrise at the Garden City outdoor shopping mall in Cranston, Rhode Island, said they were glad their state — along with Massachusetts and Maine — doesn’t let retailers open on Thanksgiving Day.
“I don’t like the idea of it,” said Lauren Glynn. “I feel bad for the people who have to work.”
BLACK FRIDAY DATABASE
The parking lot was full around noon at the Warwick Mall.
Shoppers out on Friday agreed that the sales were worth dealing with the crowds, though online sales have kept many people at home.
CBS News reported that they expect a record number of sales will take place online, with 41% coming from mobile devices.
That works out for Melanie Martino, who was shopping at the Warwick Mall Friday. “I’m pretty much here every Saturday, so this is like a normal Saturday, truthfully,” she said. “But the deals are wonderful.”
The NRF, the nation’s largest retail group, expects holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent for November and December, better than the 3 percent growth seen for those months last year. That excludes car sales, gas and restaurant receipts. But it includes online spending and other non-store sales such as catalog spending.
As for Davis and her husband, said they plan to do most of their gift shopping online and at locally owned shops where they live in Bristol, Rhode Island.
State officials hope the couple will be able to find many deals on Small Business Saturday.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza also promoted the idea, “I hope everyone will take the time this Saturday and throughout the holiday season to keep this ‘buy local spirit’ alive,” he said earlier in the week.
Free two-hour parking will also take place in the commercial districts of Providence beginning Friday and continuing until after the holidays.