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More Black Friday shoppers return to stores, chasing deals

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RALEIGH — The days of early morning Black Friday shopping are behind most consumers, but for Lex Uribe in Las Vegas the biggest shopping holiday of the year is a family bonding event.

After weeks of passing up early Black Friday deals from Walmart, Target and Amazon, Uribe is on the hunt for a Nintendo Switch and video games for her daughter, Tupperware for her kitchen and a vacuum cleaner.

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Checking off items from the holiday list is “just cheaper” on Black Friday, plus, “it’s our favorite day of the year, so we just wait,” Uribe said.

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Uribe joins millions of shoppers who waited for what they hope might be the deepest discounts of the holiday season on Black Friday, despite an industry-wide push by retailers to get shoppers to buy holiday items starting in October.

An estimated 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

This figure is almost 8 million more people than last year.

The waiting game by shoppers has forced retailers to offer steep discounts on items, which may pinch profit margins in the fourth quarter.

Target, Macy’s and Best Buy have also warned that they will need to discount more this November and December than in the previous two years as shoppers delay making purchases.

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Walmart has ramped up marketing for the holiday, purchasing ad space on Twitter and Instagram, during National Football League games and on billboards near New York City’s Penn Station with the hopes of getting customers to shop early and frequently ahead of Black Friday.

Americans, especially from low-income households, are expected to pull back on their holiday shopping this year as inflation and higher energy prices pinch their spending power.

A survey of nearly 1,700 U.S. consumers by S&P Global Market Intelligence shows that 26% of respondents are looking to spend less this holiday season, 66% say they will spend roughly the same amount as last year. Only 7% say they will spend more.

(Reporting by Arriana McLymore in Raleigh, NC Additional reporting by Uday Sampath Kumar Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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