Black Friday deals and steals

Carl Robinette

Fri October 25, 2013 12:42pm

Turkey, stuffing and football are       holiday staples, but nothing can quite say Thanksgiving like an all-night campout in front of a big-box electronics store in the hopes of grabbing up the hot deals before they sell out.
The 2013 holiday season is expected to give retail sales a much needed growth spurt after an otherwise lackluster year in the industry, according to a report released by the National Retail Federation.
The federation expects $602.1 billion in retail sales between November and December, an increase of 3.9 percent from last year. That’s slightly better than the average 3.3 percent growth over the last 10 years, but with the recent federal shutdown the federation worries consumer confidence might stumble.
That means bargain hunters will be motivated to find the best deals possible and local shopping venues like Otay Ranch Town Center is likely to see a packed house this Black Friday.
“We prepare for Black Friday all year,” said Tina Medina, spokesperson for ORTC.  “We look back at previous years and see what worked and what didn’t work. It’s the time of year that malls look forward to in terms of building business and sales,” she added.
The mall’s Main Street will likely open at 6 a.m. on the morning after Thanksgiving, though a formal schedule has not been set, Medina said. While stores like BestBuy and Macy’s have not confirmed, it is a good bet they will have midnight openings and big specials.
“Traditionally Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, so of course it’s very important to us and all retailers,” said a Jim Sluzewski, a Macy’s spokesperson. “It signifies the beginning of the holiday shopping season.”
About 10 percent of holiday shopping dollars will be spent online this year as e-commerce is expected to rise by more than 15 percent over last year for a projected total of $61.8 billion through November and December, according to an emarketer.com study.
The Monday following Thanksgiving, now known as Cyber Monday, will help drive shoppers to make those purchases online as many retailers offer exclusive online deals and savings opportunities. But not all advertised bargains are what they’re cracked up to be.
“A lot of times things are being sold as hot, hot deals and they’re really not,” said Stacey Ross, founder of SanDiegoBargainMama.com, a local shopping blog. She said often times you see items that are drastically marked down, but if the original price was way higher than other shops the savings are not as hot as they seem.
But if you must shop online, do your homework beforehand to make sure you really are getting a good deal, Ross said. She likes to use price comparison apps like Price Check by Amazon that let you scan barcodes and compare local and online prices.
“I think what we need to start doing is supporting local retailers,” Ross said. Make your big purchases like appliances and electronics at the big-box stores or online, but for those special gifts that require a more personalized touch, she said, go to your mom and pop shops.
When it comes to gifts for the kids, it looks like Elmo is back as Walmart, Kmart and Toys R Us all predict the Big Hugs Elmo to be one of this year’s hottest items.  Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys and Disney’s Sofia line of toys have also been projected by all the top toy retailers to rank as hot sellers this year.
She recommends avoiding crowds as much as possible by shopping online where it is easier to do on the spot price comparisons.
“I don’t promote camping in line outside the stores unless it’s going to save significant money for the family,” Ross said. “I think it’s promoting a bazar tradition in consumerism.”