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Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

With Black Friday in the Books, Springfield Shoppers, Economist Weigh In

Battlefield Mall

There’s still a few weeks left in the holiday shopping season. And retailers are hoping for a rebound from a reported 11 percent decline in Black Friday sales. KSMU’s Briana Simmons spoke with some Springfield shoppers and has this report.

One Springfield citizen we spoke to called the scene at Battlefield Mall on Thanksgiving night more mellow than expected. The same was true for Dr. David Mitchell, an economist at Missouri State University.

“I was out on Black Friday and I was amazed at how few people were out at the mall,” Mitchell said.

Battlefield Mall opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening, closed at 1 a.m. and then reopened for Black Friday sales at 6 a.m. Friday.

“I used that to gauge that it wasn’t going to be that good of a weekend. Sure enough it wasn’t. It kind of depends how you want to measure those dollars if you’d had all those dollars on Thanksgiving on Friday and Saturday as it traditionally had been in the past then it would have been only about a 3 percent decline, but that’s still not good,” Mitchell said.  

Other shoppers we spoke to called the early hours an interruption to their holiday family dinners.

Drakkar Jones says he was motivated by the #ShutItDown protest of major retail stores to stay away from shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

“I feel like Black Friday is kind of a distraction for people and in the midst of protest in Ferguson with everything going on in our nation I felt like it was really important to shift priorities for our citizens to not look at shopping for the day and just focus on actual change,” Jones said. 

Jennifer Wallace, a Black Friday shopper and parent, said she expected to see “all the crazy people”, but she believes early hours helped keep too many shoppers out at once.

“We went to Branson this year and it was very calm and organized and people were nice” Wallace said

MSU’s Dr. David Mitchell predicts the rest of the holiday season will be about average unless there is a shift in wages that can contribute to sales in retail stores.

“This coming Christmas season it was looking like things were going to be pretty good. Consumer confidence is up, gas prices are down, people have more money to spend, but it doesn’t appear to be translating into actual sales yet. I think people are still adopting this wait and see attitude kind of a show me that things will get better and I’ll actually start spending,” Mitchell said.

Overall Mitchell predicts it will be an okay holiday shopping season with nothing much to brag about.

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