Retailers around the Billings area are preparing for a busy start to the holiday shopping season, with deals and promotions on Thanksgiving, Friday and Saturday.
At Home Depot, which opens at 6 a.m. Friday, coffee and doughnuts will be available for the early risers, said Tony Rowland, assistant store manager.
Patio heaters will also be humming to warm up shoppers, he said.
“We’ve got deals on just about every category we carry, from flooring and tools, holiday decorations, appliances,” Rowland said.
According to a National Retail Federation survey, about 137.4 million Americans plan to shop during the Thanksgiving Day weekend, about 59 percent of shoppers.
Black Friday will continue to be the biggest day of the weekend, with about three-quarters of weekend shoppers planning to hit the stores, according to the National Retail Federation survey. The day is known as “Black Friday” because it’s traditionally been the day retailers move from red to black on their balance sheets.
In Billings, a number of big-box stores will start their holiday sales early Friday morning, including Home Depot, Cabela’s, Lowes, JoAnn Fabric, Scheels, Shipton’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Other shoppers, about 21 percent of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation, will hit the stores Thursday after their Thanksgiving meal.
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Box stores in Billings opening Thursday evening include Best Buy, Big Lots, Kohl's, Michaels, Sears, Shopko, Target, Toys R Us, Ulta Beauty and Walmart.
Most stores at Rimrock Mall will open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving and close at midnight, then reopen at 6 a.m. Friday, mall spokesman Daron Olson said. Anchors JCPenney and Herberger’s will open at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday, respectively, and stay open all night. Dillard’s is closed Thursday and opens at 8 a.m. Friday.
The National Retail Federation is forecasting $655.8 billion in spending this holiday, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.
The Billings Chamber of Commerce is also holding its Small Business Saturday promotion again this year.
The chamber has created a game board of 59 businesses, and shoppers who visit 10 can enter a drawing for prizes.
Small Business Saturday is a marketing campaign created by American Express in 2010 in an effort to boost shopping at smaller retailers, who felt overlooked during the rush to big-box stores.
About 47 percent of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation say they plan to shop on Small Business Saturday. About half say they’re doing so specifically to support small businesses.