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Black Friday US shoppers expected to spend $23BILLION in busiest day of the year

This year’s Black Friday is expected to once again be the biggest shopping day of the year with analysts predicting that shoppers will spend $23 billion – an increase on last year’s $21 billion. 

Photos and videos from all over the country show that stores are set for a busy Black Friday as eager shoppers queued up for the start of this year’s sales.

The huge customer spend comes despite stores opening hours early on Thursday to encourage shoppers with huge Thanksgiving deals. 

Americans spent around $1.75billion on Thanksgiving day, a whopping 29 per cent increase in sales compared to last year.

However, the spending seems to have done little to slow down their Black Friday sales appetite, with footage from one Wallmart store showing a scene of carnage as customers fought for TV and electronics deals.  

Black Friday has started early for some shoppers in the US who could be seen rushing to popular stores to pick up bargains before the traditional 12am start

Eager people rushing through the doors of the Macy's store in New York City during the early hours of Black Friday shopping

Eager people rushing through the doors of the Macy’s store in New York City during the early hours of Black Friday shopping

Customers flocked to stores like Best Buy to pick up TVs and other electronic goods at discounted rates before Black Friday morning

Customers flocked to stores like Best Buy to pick up TVs and other electronic goods at discounted rates before Black Friday morning

This Best Buy store in Chicago saw shoppers pile inside late at night and determinedly push their trolleys around the store

This Best Buy store in Chicago saw shoppers pile inside late at night and determinedly push their trolleys around the store

Retailers are offering new ways for shoppers to get deals online and in-store easier and faster in the age of instant gratification.

Walmart introduced a digital map on its mobile app to make it easier for shoppers to find an item’s exact location in the store. 

Kohl’s has a new feature on its mobile app that lets customers take photos of products anywhere and find similar items at the department store. 

And customers, frustrated with long checkout lines, can check out at Walmart and other stores with a salesperson right on the spot.

Shoppers are also facing new free shipping options. Target leapt in front of Walmart and Amazon to offer two-day free shipping for the holidays without any minimum purchases. Online leader Amazon followed, dropping its $25 minimum. Walmart is still sticking with its $35 threshold.

There were fears that the spread out nature of Thanksgiving shopping would slow down Black Friday sales – but customers look as if they are still ready to splash the cash. 

This person seems to be well into the Black Friday spirit and can be seen carrying a pile of discounted Playstation and Xbox video games

This person seems to be well into the Black Friday spirit and can be seen carrying a pile of discounted Playstation and Xbox video games

Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving, has been beset by violence and angry scenes in recent years but these shoppers looked more than happy to queue up

Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving, has been beset by violence and angry scenes in recent years but these shoppers looked more than happy to queue up

A huge team of staff at Target  gear up in the final moments before the doors open on Black Friday in Maple Grove, Minnesota

A huge team of staff at Target gear up in the final moments before the doors open on Black Friday in Maple Grove, Minnesota

‘Retailers are pulling out all the stops to get shoppers earlier with online deals and using online to push shoppers in the store,’ said Marshal Cohen, chief industry adviser at the NPD Group, a market research group. ‘I think overall spending will be decent.’

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, is expecting holiday retail sales in November and December – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – to increase as much as 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $720.89 billion. The sales growth marks a slowdown from last year’s 5.3 percent, which was the largest gain since 2010. But the figure is still healthy. 

Bargain hunters flocked to stores like Best Buy late at night to pick up some bargains and beat the mad Black Friday morning rush.

They joined long queues all over the country as they fought to make sure they picked up the best offers before anyone else.  

Shoppers were ready and waiting for the 2pm opening of the JC Penney store in the Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck, North Dakota

Shoppers were ready and waiting for the 2pm opening of the JC Penney store in the Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck, North Dakota

A large crowd of people push through and shop during a Black Friday sales event at Macy's flagship store on 34th St. in New York City

A large crowd of people push through and shop during a Black Friday sales event at Macy’s flagship store on 34th St. in New York City

Grinning shoppers carried huge TVs between them while others pushed trolleys laden with discounted goodies. 

Photos showed customers flocking to a Best Buy store in Chicago, Illinois and carrying piles of reduced electronics and video games joyfully in their arms.

Hundreds of people could be seen lining up in front of Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan late on Thursday afternoon.

Many of the shoppers streamed into the store with a smile after the doors were opened – and it didn’t take long for them to start piling their arms sky high with discounted products.

Before it even hit 8pm, people could be seen carrying out large television screens from Best Buy in New York.

Most Macy’s and Best Buy stores got a very early start on Black Friday, bypassing the once popular midnight openings to unlock their doors at 5pm instead.

In other news, busy bargain hunters can now pay people up to $35 an hour to wait in line for them on Black Friday. 

Time poor, money rich millennials don’t have to waste their precious hours idling in line for Broadway tickets, iPhone drops, restaurant reservations or big sales, when they can pay someone to do it for them – then switch spots once the sitter reaches the front.

Some entrepreneurs who have set up the so-called line sitting companies said that they are doing a brisk trade. 

‘People don’t have a lot of time,’ Jennifer Goff, the founder and CEO of Skip the Line told MONEY. 

People wait in line to shop at Best Buy during a sales event on Thanksgiving day in Westbury, New York before the official start of Black Friday

People wait in line to shop at Best Buy during a sales event on Thanksgiving day in Westbury, New York before the official start of Black Friday

A spectacle for all ages: Teenagers are known to be especially big fans of Black Friday sales and some could already be seen adding games and other electronic devices to their collection

A spectacle for all ages: Teenagers are known to be especially big fans of Black Friday sales and some could already be seen adding games and other electronic devices to their collection

People can hire professionals to wait in line for them for Broadway tickets, iPhone drops, restaurant reservations and then switch spots once the sitter reaches the front

People can hire professionals to wait in line for them for Broadway tickets, iPhone drops, restaurant reservations and then switch spots once the sitter reaches the front

Early shoppers at a Best Buy store in Washington carrying a brand new Samsung TV between them as they dodge the queues

Early shoppers at a Best Buy store in Washington carrying a brand new Samsung TV between them as they dodge the queues

Shoppers are waiting for doors to open during Black Friday at Macy's store on 34th St in New York

Shoppers are waiting for doors to open during Black Friday at Macy’s store on 34th St in New York

‘This is a service that really helps them to be able to do what they want to do’. 

Goff’s venture started in June 2017 when a Game of Thrones pop-up bar debuted in Washington, DC.

Fans turned out in force for a chance to drink The North Remembers cocktails and sit on the Iron Throne, and Goff took notice of the huge volume of people waiting hours to get in.

‘Before I had a business plan, it was a way to make extra money.

‘I [would approach] people in line and [say] I’m here if they want me to wait [for them].

‘They can go get a drink somewhere, go get food. I’ll keep them updated with text messages and photos’.

The most well-known business is Same Ole Line Dudes in New York City, which dispatches people to wait in lines for sample sales, Saturday Night. 

Darren Hromadka got into the line-sitting game when he learned his colleagues in Omaha, Nebraska, were paying college students to hold seats for them at Warren Buffett’s annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting.

Some 40,000 attendees turn out for a three-day event nicknamed the Woodstock of Capitalism.

Some people even wake up before dawn in order to get good seats to see Warren Buffett speak.

Jennifer Goff is the founder of Skip the line

Darren Hromadka founded the  InLine4You app

Jennifer Goff (left) is the founder of Skip the line and Darren Hromadka (right) founded the  InLine4You app which are busier than ever, according to the entrepreneurs 

Buffett himself told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that hiring a person to stand in line for seats to the meeting is ‘probably what I would do’. 

Hromadka thought there had to be a better way to bring together people who want a spot in line and people who are willing to do the work.

He classified each group, calling them hoppers’ and spotters respectively and founded the InLine4You app.

Hoppers can post requests on the app and say how much they’re willing to pay, and spotters claim the gigs.

The average price is about $25 an hour. When the hopper shows up to take the spotter’s place in line, InLine4You processes the payment.

‘It is giving the gift of time,’explained Hromadka, whose app is available nationwide and has about 22,000 downloads.

The inlineforyou app allows people to Hire a 'tasker' to stand in line for restaurants, special events, concerts and more 

The inlineforyou app allows people to Hire a ‘tasker’ to stand in line for restaurants, special events, concerts and more 

Hoppers can post requests on the inlineforyou app and say how much they’re willing to pay and spotters claim the gigs. Hoppers take a cut of the money 

Hoppers can post requests on the inlineforyou app and say how much they’re willing to pay and spotters claim the gigs. Hoppers take a cut of the money 

Another entrepreneur who set up an app called Same Ole Line Dudes is busy at particular times of the year. He said tourists flood New York City looking for Hamilton tickets and more holiday-specific events.

He is currently recruiting line-sitters to reserve spots at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, for which they’ll get time and a half, but have to deal with crazy crowds and frigid temperatures.

Skip the Line and Same Ole Line Dudes operate similarly, though they have set rates.

Skip the Line charges about $30 an hour for most events; Same Ole Line Dudes costs $45 minimum for two hours.

Both have variables that can drive up prices, like bad weather, event popularity or delivery options.

Becoming a line sitter involves a lot of free time and patience so the job is perfect for students and retirees.

Another crucial quality is a willingness to take on jobs, as Samuel said: ‘It’s an easy gig to get, but it’s also easy to get let go from if an employee doesn’t regularly fill requests’. 

Black Friday fever spreads across the world: Carnage breaks out in stores as shoppers clamber over each other to get a bargain 

Black Friday fever has spread across the world with carnage breaking out in stores and shoppers clambering over each other to snap up deals.

Scuffles broke out amid chaotic scenes at one store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where crowds of bargain hunters scrambled to get their hands on cheap televisions. 

Footage purportedly taken this morning also shows frantic shoppers storming into shops in South Africa.

The clip was reportedly captured at ‘game’ in Baywest Mall, Port Elizabeth, as its metal shutters were opened for the day.  

Bargain hunters: There were chaotic scenes as shoppers made a frantic dash for discounted televisions at a department store in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Bargain hunters: There were chaotic scenes as shoppers made a frantic dash for discounted televisions at a department store in Sao Paulo, Brazil

A separate video shot at an unknown location in South Africa shows an armed guard patrolling a mall as crowds descend on a shop. A man can be seen desperately trying to beat queues by scrambling over a metal barrier. 

In Barakaldo, near Bilbao, Spain, long queues were pictured outside a department store advertising Black Friday deals.

In the US, a teenager was killed and two others injured following a shooting at an Alabama shopping centre prior to Black Friday shopping.

Authorities say the shooting happened about 9.30pm local time on Thursday at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, a nearby suburb of Birmingham.

Police say a fight between two teenagers, including an 18-year-old, resulted in an exchange of gunfire. One teenager fled but was confronted by two Hoover police officers.

Captain Gregg Rector said at a news conference that a Hoover officer ‘did engage that individual, shot him and he is dead on the scene’.

The second teenager was taken to hospital and is in a serious condition. Police said a 12-year-old girl also struck by gunfire was in hospital. 

Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, was so named because spending in the United States would surge and retailers would traditionally begin to turn a profit for the year – moving from the red into the black. It falls on November 23 this year. 

The Black Friday concept still divides opinion.

 Keep cool and carry on: A member of staff was pictured trying to calm crowds as he stood on a display in a shop in Sao Paulo on Black Friday

 Keep cool and carry on: A member of staff was pictured trying to calm crowds as he stood on a display in a shop in Sao Paulo on Black Friday

Supporters say carefully planned, targeted promotions in close co-operation with global suppliers allow retailers to achieve a sales boost while still maintaining profit margins.

Naysayers argue the discounts suck forward Christmas sales that could otherwise be made at full price and can dampen business in subsequent weeks.

Meanwhile, Britain’s retailers are hoping Black Friday discounts will get shoppers spending again after a torrid year for much of the sector.

A string of store groups have gone out of business or announced shop closures this year as they battle subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes, growing online competition and uncertainty over Brexit.

Toys R Us UK, Maplin and Poundworld have all gone bust, while Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Mothercare and House of Fraser are between them shutting hundreds of stores.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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