Black Friday slow following string of deals on and before Thanksgiving

By Tom Momberg

Shopping centers around Queens Friday looked more like a busy weekend than the start of any holiday purchasing frenzy.

Some regular Black Friday shoppers said trends and the ways retailers market their sales have shaped the day into something far from what it used to be.

Several stores, like Target and the electronics and appliance store P.C. Richards started putting up door buster deals a week before Thanksgiving. Other retailers start huge sales at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, each trying to spread out the rush of shoppers.

“I picked up a sale before today,” Reginald Adams, 61, of East Elmhurst, said leaving the College Point P.C. Richards.“But, they had the Black Friday sale basically a week ago.”

The term “Black Friday” is used to describe the point in the year when big box retailers begin to turn a profit through the holiday season.

Big-box retailers no longer strategize the first big seasonal rush by trying to line customers up at their door at 3 or 4 a.m. on Friday, but are staggering times earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving week. Every mall or shopping district in Queens was practically a ghost town by mid-Friday morning.

Cheryl Bingham, 38, was shopping with her two sisters at Atlas Park, where she said she was relieved to see fewer people filling the stores.

“We usually shop the day after Thanksgiving every year — it’s always been a fun thing to do while my family is still in town,” Bingham said. “I really don’t like crowds and never understood waiting in a huge line overnight just to save a few bucks. It’s kind of nice there aren’t a lot of people here — it makes our day more relaxing.”

Still every year, there are some diehard shoppers.

“We have been here since 3 a.m.,” Kevin Carter, of St. Albans, said on his way to look for men’s wear sales at Queens Center Mall.

Queens Center Mall was open from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving through the overnight until its scheduled closing time on Friday. A mall spokesman said he and his staff expected an influx of shoppers early Friday morning, which never came. He said midnight after Thanksgiving was by far the biggest rush.

Jackson Heights resident Lin Do, 40, spent $100 on toys for her children at Target in College Point, but said she purchased them at full price on Friday morning.

“I think the Black Friday sales passed, so just regular sales,” Do said.

Reporters Sadef Kully and Madina Toure contributed to this report.