South MS retailers offer Black Friday discounts early

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - While many of us are stuffing our turkeys, local retailers are busy stocking their shelves in preparation for Black Friday. With the holiday shopping season being shorter this year, businesses aren't waiting until the big day to start offering big deals.

Customers at Gabrielle's are seeing a lot of new styles right now at the Biloxi store. To lure Black Friday shoppers, the store owner is carrying twice the inventory she usually does.

"We also bring new lines in," said Wendy Shaw. "We have several new jewelry lines this year. We have a lot of great mark downs. We're competing with the big department stores, so we try to do things like that so it's just as exciting in the local business as it is in the big ones."

Shaw said she began offering big discounts earlier than Black Friday because the holiday shopping season is starting later than usual.

"This year's season is shorter. Hopefully our consumers and customers realize that Thanksgiving is late and we don't have the lull the week after Black Friday," Shaw said.

Black Friday at Old Navy actually begins on Thursday. The Gulfport store will be opening at 9am and remain open until 4pm on Thanksgiving Day. Then it will close and reopen at 7pm and continue serving customers overnight until 11pm on Friday. Old Navy officials said to create a good Black Friday experience for customers, their game plan is to offer large discounts and get people out of long checkout lines as quickly as possible.

"Ten registers open," said Store Manager Kim Cooper. "When we first open, that's usual that we have 10 registers up and also three managers on staff."

For the holidays, Old Navy is carrying about 25 percent more on its shelves. Store officials said employees have undergone special training to help customers make the best selections for themselves and for the people on their gift list.

Cooper said, "They know how to denim fits, they know how our Perfect Ts fit, washing instructions, things like that. We make sure they're very knowledgeable about how things fit and how they're going to wear."

Retailers said a large portion of their profits for the year come during the holiday shopping season.

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