NORMAN — Some merchants do almost half of their year’s business in the final two months of the calendar year. That’s why today’s unofficial opening of the holiday shopping season takes on a life of its own.
Merchants have been ready for weeks, about as long as some turkey-infused shoppers have been planning today’s routes. The traffic around the shopping malls and retail centers is expected to be heavy.
Consumer spending drives about 70 percent of the nation’s economy. Retailers anticipate overall sales in November and December at brick-and-mortar stores to rise about 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion while online sales are expected to rise 15 percent to $68.4 billion.
Store are pulling out all the stops to build traffic. Online purchases can be picked up in the stores. Layaway is back. Coupons are big and door busters are the norm. Shopping has apps to locate items and prices.
Hours are expanded. Some stores are open Thanksgiving Day and others shortly after midnight. Shipping is usually free.