KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The holiday shopping season arrives with hope.

Black Friday serves as an economic indicator and a benchmark retailers use to set their annual expectations. Cash registers across the Kansas City metro had that familiar ring on Black Friday, as merchants of all sizes welcomed customers to begin their holiday shopping.

Patrick Jordan, store director at the Academy Sports location in Liberty, said the brisk turnout his store enjoyed on Friday morning is a pleasant continuation of 2021’s success, when customers returned to the stores as public concern about the COVID-19 pandemic began to fade. Customer turnout looks more like it did before the pandemic, as shoppers are searching for value.

“They’re going after hot deal products. That’s really a lot of what you see today. There’s a lot of great deals, and that’s what you see customers shopping for, trying to get that perfect gift,” Jordan said.

Inflation is driving prices up at many retail destinations. At smaller stores, such as locally owned Pink Dinosaur at Zona Rosa, managers are enjoying a good mix of face-to-face purchases in addition to solid online sales.

“Since COVID, things have evened out again to where I feel like our normal in-store shopping is where it would be about this time of year. Our online sales are kind of matching it,” Abby Liudahl, Pink Dinosaur manager, said.

While some customers would prefer to shop at home, the ones FOX4 spoke with at Zona Rosa said Black Friday is an in-person tradition that’s too much fun to resist.

“I honestly just like the thrill of it,” shopper Emilee Shelton said. “The thrill of the crowds, but the crowds aren’t as wild this year as they have been in the past.”

“It’s easier. I think I spend more at home. I have a conscientious shopper here so we actually haven’t done too bad. It’s our first bag of the day,” Cortney McQueen, another Zona Rosa shopper, said while referring to her teenage daughter.

As far as whether or not this holiday shopping season will be a fruitful one, merchants said it’s hard to quantify.

However, on Black Friday, they’re seeing a lot of customers come in their doors, which gives them hope for this entire holiday shopping season. 

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