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Few Austinites turn out for Black Friday sales in person this year
(Laura Figi)

At the tail end of a tough year for retailers, Black Friday deals appeared to draw fewer shoppers into big box stores around Austin.


Early morning openings at Bed Bath & Beyond on Brodie Lane, Best Buy and Walmart on Hwy. 290, Target on West Ben White Boulevard, and Marshalls on West William Cannon Drive saw anemic turnout—perhaps driven down by the rising number of COVID-19 cases reported locally or the cold, rainy weather.

Black Friday line-spotting in Austin, TXyoutu.be

Shoppers may also have turned to online retailers, where similar deals could be found with less risk.

(Laura Figi)

Black Friday, as a shopping concept, began gaining steam in the late 1980s, when retailers operating at a loss—or in the red—reported a sharp uptick in sales—moving into the black—after Thanksgiving.

It may also have derived its name from police officers in Philadelphia, who used the term to refer to the chaos that resulted when suburban shoppers came into the city for their holiday shopping in the early 1960s, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The allure of Black Friday has been waning in recent years, however, and it may be further diminished by the pandemic.

(Laura Figi)

A recent survey from Accenture found that 64% of more than 1,500 respondents are less inclined to shop on Black Friday than they were a few years ago. U.S. consumers also began their holiday shopping earlier this year and plan to spend less, according to the survey.

Still, many local businesses are open, from The Austin Winery and Half Price Books to Kendra Scott and Waterloo Records.

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