Diving Into Discounts on the First Day of the Shopping Season

Thousands of people flooded into malls, department stores and tourist attractions in the days before the holiday shopping season officially kicked off on Thursday. Amid the crowds, visitors were looking for deep discounts. At…

Diving Into Discounts on the First Day of the Shopping Season

Thousands of people flooded into malls, department stores and tourist attractions in the days before the holiday shopping season officially kicked off on Thursday. Amid the crowds, visitors were looking for deep discounts.

At a shopping plaza in the financial district of New York City, lines of shoppers snaked into the escalators of the Rockefeller Center Landmark in Midtown Manhattan. “Not like it normally is,” said Sade Adewale, a 25-year-old law clerk who had just arrived from Los Angeles.

Michele Furtado, another shopper, said, “The lines are longer, more crowded. There’s a lot of traffic and a lot of people.”

The number of shoppers is expected to increase throughout the season, despite rising gasoline prices and a possible trade war between the United States and China, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the market research firm NPD Group. He anticipates sales will rise 4 percent overall compared with 2018, a fraction of the more than 16 percent increase last year.

“Consumers are still in the spending mode,” Mr. Cohen said. “They just have different methods to get around.”

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