The Shopping Center Where Black Friday Keeps On Going
The Shopping Center Where Black Friday Keeps On Going

The Shopping Center Where Black Friday Keeps On Going

In recent years, the rise of e-commerce has hurt shopping in person, killing brick-and-mortar stores and once-popular malls. Because of this, Black Friday, traditionally the first day of the Christmas shopping season and once known for great deals and crowds of people buying gifts, has lost some of its shine.

Here in Bloomington, Minnesota, that’s not the case. On Friday at 4:30 a.m., hundreds of people were waiting in line at the Mall of America’s main entrance. In 150 minutes, the country’s biggest shopping and entertainment centre, with 5.6 million square feet, would open its doors for Black Friday.

Even though it was cold, these early birds and the tens of thousands of people who joined them in the next few hours showed that, in some places, the Black Friday spirit still rules. “The holidays are our Super Bowl,” said Jill Renslow, the executive vice president of business development and marketing at Mall of America.

Since malls stopped opening on Thanksgiving Day seven years ago, Black Friday has been the start of the holiday shopping season here. At the time, “holiday creep” was getting worse because of things like “Gray Thursday,” when stores had deals like Black Friday and opened very early on Thanksgiving Day.

This year’s start of the holiday season is essential for the mall, which is celebrating its 30th birthday and getting back to the business level it had before the pandemic.

Renslow said, “People want to shop specifically on Black Friday, but they want to shop in stores.” “They want to be able to bring that item home right away, especially if there’s a specific thing on their list.” Every day, about 100,000 people walk into the mall, but on Black Friday, that number usually doubles. In some years, like 2018 and 2019, that was close to 250,000 people.

This year’s foot traffic is better than in 2021, but it is still lower than in 2019 before the pandemic. This is likely because fewer people are going abroad. Still, she said, sales are up 9% from last year and 5% from 2019. (Those numbers don’t take inflation into account.)

But, said Jadrian Wooten, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Virginia Tech, the holiday season for the whole country is clouded by a lot of uncertainty. “This year is going to put the usual Black Friday shopping mall experience to the test,” he said. Consumers are becoming even more price-conscious and frugal because inflation has been high for decades, and the economy is getting less specific.

That’s true for Molly Timmerman, who teaches in a public school. The woman with two kids said she plans to spend “much, much less” this year than she did in previous years. She said, “I worry a lot about the economy.”

This year, Timmerman plans to shop with her 13- and 10-year-old daughters deliberately and straightforwardly. They will look for deals. More importantly, she wants to enjoy her time with them at the shopping and entertainment centre she first went to in the eighth grade, the year it opened.

The 30th Black Friday At A “Megamall.”

The Mall of America was America’s first “megamall.” On November 27, 1992, it held its first Black Friday sale. About 170,000 people went to see the three-story monolith that day. It was much bigger than the stadium that was there before, where the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings played for 21 years. The mall is 78 acres, which is the size of 59 football fields.

Newspapers at the time said that people came from all over the country to shop on Black Friday, and many locals opened their homes to people who wanted to see the vast shopping and entertainment centre.

These guests were greeted by an explosion of Christmas decorations that took 30 people three weeks to put up. These decorations included 1,300 mega-wreaths with Snoopy, the cartoon beagle from the “Peanuts” comic strip. At the time, the Knott’s Camp Snoopy amusement park was the best thing to do in the middle of the mall.

When the country was coming out of recession in the early 1990s, retailers hoped Black Friday would be a busy day and a sign of better times. Even though the number of shoppers was less than expected, they still got a lot of good deals and kept the cash registers busy.

At the time, Abercrombie & Fitch store manager Hilary Werner told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “By 11 a.m., we had already sold as much as we would on a normal weekend.” After 30 years, Abercrombie & Fitch was once again very busy. People were crowding around the shelves and looking at the sweaters and pants, which included what the store called “’90s-style” ultra high-rise jeans.

After an addition in 2015, the mall is even more significant, with an extra floor and a footprint that is now more than 96 acres (or about 13 more football fields, for those keeping count). Nickelodeon Universe replaced the Peanuts gang at the mall’s centre, a huge indoor amusement park with many bright orange and green roller coasters.

Now, 30 years later, there are a lot of bigger-than-life snowflakes, ornaments, and trees in the house. White lights hang from the ceiling in the west corridor. With speakers playing Christmas music (including Mariah Carey’s 1994 mega-holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You”) and the smell of Wetzel’s Pretzels and Cinnabon dough wafting through the air, shoppers filled their bags with items that were on sale for 20% to 70% off.

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About Sam Houston 1811 Articles
Hello, I'm Sam Houston, and I'm proud to be a part of the team as a content writer. My journey into journalism has been quite an exciting ride, and it all began with a background in content creation. My roots as a content writer have equipped me with the essential skills needed to craft engaging narratives and convey information effectively. This background proved invaluable when I decided to make the transition into journalism. The transition allowed me to channel my storytelling abilities into producing news articles that not only inform but also captivate our readers.

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