KENNESAW — Black Friday saw fewer shoppers in-person than normal at Cobb County malls, due to the coronavirus pandemic and more people buying gifts online this season.
Shoppers at Town Center at Cobb told the MDJ they wanted to get in and out of the mall quickly to limit exposure to the virus. Most mall visitors wore masks, and many retailers had lines with social distancing markers to limit how many were in the shop at one time.
Kerri Seagraves of Marietta said she went to the mall for Bath and Body Works’ buy three, get three for free deal.
“It’s weird because usually it’s really busy, and there’s a lot of people. You can’t even get into the mall. But now, I found a really good parking spot,” she said.
Tori Kring, who lives in Cherokee County near Canton, said she only had one destination at the mall: PINK by Victoria’s Secret. She figured the trip would be easier than previous, more crowded Black Fridays.
“I’m trying to get in and out as fast as possible,” she said. “It’s not browsing like we usually do at the mall.”
Angelica Mosley, who was with her daughter, Gabriella, said this Black Friday was marked with most shoppers wearing masks.
“You can’t see smiling faces, which is sad. The crowds aren’t as big this year, and we found many of the same deals are online,” she said.
A representative of Simon Malls, which owns Town Center at Cobb, declined to answer questions about Black Friday sales.
“We cannot accommodate interviews of any kind at this time,” spokeswoman Shina Kung said in an email.
Black Friday, normally an important sales day for retailers, was different this year with fewer door-busters and more spread-out sales, especially online.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary’s website, the term “Black Friday” is said to have come from retailers turning a profit, i.e. going from “in the red” to “in the black” the day after Thanksgiving.
Foot traffic at The Avenue East Cobb was slower than usual when it opened at 9 a.m., but it was “hopping” later in the day, said Terri Sallee, office manager of the mall.
“It was a slow start to the morning, unlike a typical Black Friday, but it’s pretty busy over here right now, it’s pretty full,” Sallee said Friday afternoon.
Smaller retailers also see a boost on Black Friday and throughout the weekend after Thanksgiving. At Marietta Square, business has been “brisk,” Stephanie Stephanie Coston, director of Marietta Square branding project, told the MDJ.
Small Business Saturday follows Black Friday. The American Express-founded event encourages people to support local, independently owned businesses.
“This is a big weekend for our Square businesses and with National (Small Business Saturday) happening tomorrow we are hopeful it will be just what our merchants need to kick off a successful holiday season,” Coston said in an email.
In recent years, the holiday weekend has been rounded out by Cyber Monday with online deals and Giving Tuesday, a charitable giving initiative.