SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Black Friday is known as the biggest shopping day of the year, but many of shoppers say the crowds this year were much smaller than usual.
"It's been amazing,” Sandra Campbell said. “There aren't that many people like last year or even the year before that."
Campbell who was shopping at The Maine Mall was not alone in her opinion.
"I thought it was going to be really packed, but it's like a normal day,” Molly O’Brien said.
With many stores opening later than usual and the increasing pressure of online retail giants, brick and mortar stores are doing more to try and compete.
"I don't shop online. I'm too old for that,” Sheila Brennan said. “I want to feel it want to touch it want to see it."
Brennan and her husband were Black Friday shopping for the first time in 20 years. They said they liked it so much they plan to again next year.
"I think more people are shopping online to avoid the crowds which I think is more fun,” Campbell said.
While store management at Cabela’s said early turnout at their Scarborough store was low, other big stores like Target in South Portland saw sizeable crowds at their 6 a.m. opening.
Those stores drew people in with incentives like gift cards for large purchases. The popular items: TVs, gaming devices and cell phones.
Deals or no deals, many shoppers said it was just about the experience.
“It's about the memories,” Jay Hogdon said. Hodgdon was one of a handful of people who waited in line at Cabela’s for nearly 12 hours.
“It’s something I want to keep up,” Jessica Quimby said at The Maine Mall. “I’m hoping to do this with my daughter like me and my mom do."
Quimby said she shops with her daughter and friends every year.
“It’s just fun,” Campbell said.
The National Retail Federation anticipates a slight increase in holiday retail says by 3.6-4 percent this year.
NEWS CENTER spoke to the Executive Director of the Retail Association of Maine, Curtis Picard. He said turnout was satisfactory this year—adding that the nice weather was a huge benefit for business.
Picard said after Black Friday, small businesses in Maine are hoping for a good turnout for Small Business Saturday.