The Big Apple’s bargain hunters are back.
Eager shoppers lined up before dawn to snap up deals and steals at Manhattan retailers this Black Friday — in stark contrast to the in-person buying bust last year.
Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square already had masses of people waiting for it to open at 6 a.m., while lines stretched down the block outside other stores, including Best Buy on Fifth Avenue.
Last year, sale seekers almost completely stayed home to shop online on Black Friday, with in-store shopping down 52 percent from the previous year’s big sales day, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, a report by consumer research platform Attest showed about two-thirds of 1,000 people surveyed were comfortable shopping in-person despite the ongoing pandemic.
“People are looking to get back to normal,” said Rod Sides, the US retail leader of consultancy firm Deloitte.
“The early online birds, and the birds that went into the store, may get the worm.”
Manhattan resident Lucille Aitl said she was “happy to be in the store” as she looked for bargains for her family in Macy’s.
“I find it easier to shop in the store,” she said, saying that when she buys online “it comes and it doesn’t look the same.”
“When I come [to a store], I see it and I know whether I like it or not,” she said. “I think it’s better in the store.”
She also insisted she felt safe, while taking precautions.
“I took the vaccine. I’m wearing my mask. I have my sanitizer in my bag,” she said.
Still, despite the early lines, some sales staff admitted being disappointed at the turnout. After the early shoppers left, stores like Macy’s were not as packed as many salespeople had expected.
“Maybe there are still sleeping. Maybe they’re still drunk,” one Macy’s salesperson told The Post of the lack of bustle.
“A lot of people are shopping online — a lot,” she said.
Another salesperson in the handbag section reckoned many are now “too lazy to go out,” especially because they “get the same sales online.”
“And people are still afraid of COVID,” he said of the fear of crowded stores.
It’s not just the stores that face possible disappointment — but also shoppers.
The supply-chain disaster and failing economy also make it far less likely that shoppers will find the bargains of their dreams, analysts have warned.
Shoppers will pay on average between 5 to 17 percent more for toys, clothing, appliances and others purchases compared with last Black Friday, according to Aurelien Duthoit, senior sector advisor at Allianz Research.
TVs will see the highest price hike on average, up 17 percent from a year ago, according to the research firm.
“I think it is going to be a messy holiday season,” warned Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail.
”It will be a bit frustrating for retailers, consumers and the workers.
“We are going to see long lines. We are going to see messier stores. We are going to see delays as you collect online orders.”
However, the supply-chain issues could drive some shoppers into stores through fear online sales will not arrive in time for other holidays, some analysts have predicted.
“There are already reported shortages of toys in a number of big sellers in North America and I think you’ll see similar shortages in electronics,” warned Andy Halliwell, senior director of retail at consultancy Publicis Sapient.
With Post wires