Several retailers closed for Thanksgiving, but still expecting record sales

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A recent Thanksgiving tradition seems to have gone by the wayside as big-box stores take a new approach for the Black Friday weekend.

A lot of the largest retailers closed for Thanksgiving and yet, this holiday could still be a record sales day.

Dave Gilliland is a veteran of Black Friday at the Clovis Best Buy.

"Since this thing's opened, my sons and I used to be first in line pretty much every year," he said.

For about a decade, he's lined up outside the Herndon and Willow store two days before Thanksgiving to get good deals on TVs and other technology.

But this year, the line has disappeared - in Clovis and at the River Park store.

Signs there may reveal why: All the same deals you'll get by being first in line you can already get by going online.

Best Buy joined Target, Walmart, and several other big retailers in staying closed all day on Thanksgiving.

Grocery stores and Dollar Tree had parking lots to themselves Thursday, mostly serving people like Peter Mendoza.

"I got a pan to cook my ham," he said.

Retailers don't need to open brick and mortar stores to expect big sales on Thanksgiving.

They took in a record $5.1 billion dollars last year - mostly online.

And the National Retail Federation says 61% of Americans have gotten an early start to holiday shopping - again, mostly online.

"There already is a tremendous spike in the amount of online buying that's taking place - anywhere from 20-25% over last year even," said Fresno economist Hank Nishimoto.

But shopping on a screen doesn't appeal to everybody.

65% of shoppers intend to do some of it in person, including Gilliland, who plans to line up again this year, but after Thanksgiving dinner for once.

"Now it's not a rush because everybody's online so I don't have to worry about making sure I'm here a day or two ahead of time," he said.

Best Buy reopens at 5 a.m. Friday and customers can get back into Target at 7 a.m.
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