Image caption, Samantha and AJ are looking for deals on clothing and electronics
If everything went according to plan and the Thanksgiving feast hasn't put them to sleep too much, AJ and his wife Samantha will be leaving their Manhattan home at midnight for a serious Black Friday. to go shopping in neighboring New Jersey.
"I'm excited, " says AJ, who works at a school. "There will probably be a crowd like you never have before. vu before. "
They don 't need a new TV, but AJ would like to buy a new 70 inch screen if there is a good deal to be had.
"Every year whether you need it or not, you are looking for a TV, " he says.
They will also be looking for video games, other electronic devices, clothes, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, children's clothing. "Which has the highest percentage, " he says.
Samantha, a security guard, is already browsing the stores to find something new to wear after a year and a half at home in a tracksuit, something stretchy, she said, to cope with that Thanksgiving dinner.
Against the twinkling of Christmas lights and sequined evening wear, American boutiques have once again lined up price promotions in the run-up to Black Friday weekend, which traditionally marks the kick-off of shopping seasonfestive.
Image caption, Stores began Black Friday deals in advance
This year promises to be a record, despite a context of sharp price increases,personnel and supply chain issues, and rising Covid rates as well.
Many Americans saved money during the pandemic, supplemented by paying for aid government in the form of stimulus checks and child tax credits.
It's already making its way into cash registers. So far this year, retailers have already sold 15% more than at the same time last year, and 21% more than in 2019.
" It's like adding 50 million Americans to the economy in terms of demand, "says Mark Mathews, vice president of the National Retail Federation.
He and a lot of people others predict that the spending madness will continue.
"The consumer is on fire ", says Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData Retail. "We have never seen spending so high.
People have started to socialize a little more, he says, so they buy party clothes. Some lost weight, others gained weight during the pandemic and need new clothes. And the money that doesn't go on vacations and commutes is spent on things for the house.
This represents "amazing " spending levels, he says.
Legend of the 'image, Buyers are told to buy early to avoid disappointment with supply chain issues
This is a godsend for large brands and chains. Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch, Dick 's Sporting Goods, Bath and Body Works, accessories company Tapestry, all managed to cash in, already doing well.
Neil SaunderThis is at least partly attributed to the American psyche, which he says is "extremely robust ". Optimism and patriotism get people to spend, he says.
Paris Ratcliff and his Aunt Phyllis have said it up to happiness - and sheer relief that slim guys are better than last year.
Image caption, Paris (l) and her aunt, Phyllis, think the more positive mood means they will spend more this year
"I know for a fact that I spend more money this year, "says Paris, an education administrator in Chicago.
" Joy makes you spend more, "confirms her Aunt Phyllis, a special education teacher.
A sense of camaraderie and sympathy sparked by the pandemic will boost their gift shopping this year, they think.
But in the meantime, Paris has bought a pair of Kate Spade shoes for herself, and Phyllis has a Ralph Lauren coat, which was 60% off at Macy 's.
But not everything is as lively as it could be.
Along Fifth Avenue and around Soho, two trendy shopping districts, there are a notable number of empty window storeys madeNow for new tenants.
With city centers still partially hollowed out by people working from home and tourism just restarting, spending has gradually increased.
Image caption, Parts of Manhattan have gaps for new business
"You have the residential areas that I think are a bit busier than some of the downtown shopping areas, "says retail expert Dana Telsey, managing director of the Telsey Advisory Group.
And supply chain issues, which are leaving Christmas stocks stranded in transit, also affecting businesses unevenly.
These issues have "put a hinge in everything," says Ms Telsey.
"Overall the big guys have most of what you want, " she said. While lower inventory probably means shoppers are finding that there are fewer really important promotions, she adds.
Big retailers such as Walmart have been able to use their influence with suppliers and pay for air freight, there was nonethe same goes for small retailers, says Mark Mathew of the National Retail Federation.
"They don't necessarily have the buying power," he says. "If you are dealing with a freight company and you are a multi-billion dollar company, you will have a better relationship, deeper pockets and they are more likely to help you in those times.
This is certainly the experience of Karen Barwick, who set up Boomerang Toys, in the Tribeca neighborhood of downtown New York 19 years ago.
The Lack of Downtown Workers means his shop, which carries everything from big brands to handcrafted wooden toys in Europe, is still mu ch quieter than normal.
And she struggles to get her hands on the full line of Lego, Jellycats, and other Christmas staples.
Hotwheels miniature racing cars, a reliable big seller, are in quantity limitated.
"We have 30 different models out of stock, but there are two on the shelves, " she said.
Image source, Boomerang Toys Image caption, Karen Barwick and her team don't expect a very busy Black Friday
She was unable to rearrange the Ravensburger puzzles. They stopped taking new orders in September, she says, probably because they knew they couldn't fill them.
The stock she gets is also costing much more expensive. "We try not to pass it on to the consumer, but there are times we have to," she says.
Boomerang still only makes about 60% of the amount. activity they were in 2019. The shop will be open on Friday, but they don't expect a particularly busy day.
"It won't be a great year for us, but as long as we get through, have a solid and steady amount of sales, then we'll be satisfied, "she said.