Holiday shopping season officially begins in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. As people are winding down from having their Thanksgiving meal, retailers across the United States are gearing up for shoppers and Sioux Falls is no exception.
Officials at the Empire Mall say are expecting to see recording breaking holiday shopping numbers. They expect hundreds of thousands of people visit the mall on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Online shopping is becoming more and more popular, but officials at the Empire Mall say recent reports show that most people will be stepping foot inside retailers.

“ICSC reports that 91% of shoppers will actually do purchases in store this year for their holiday shopping,” Kirsten Schaffer, Director of Marketing and Business development Empire said.

If the crowd is any indication, it seems like that statistic is ringing true.

“Crazy. We had to push our way through, yell and scream,” Brenda Carman, a shopper from Flandreau said.

Many stood in line just to get inside stores.
One family even making the three hour trip from Aberdeen.

“We're excited about this. We've never been shopping Black Friday in Sioux Falls, so yeah, this is our first time,” Shirley Hanisch from Aberdeen said.

At box stores like JC Penney, lines wrapped around entire departments.

“It's actually been pretty crazy,” store general manager, Dean Kuntz said.

And as for the number of people in the store...

“Literally thousands,” he said. “These are definitely the two biggest shopping days of the year.”

To bring down the wait time, the store rolled out a new way to divert people out of line using a phone as a cash register.

“They’re called Mobile Warriors and they are a basically a cash register, so we can actually use those to ring up JC Penny credit card holders,” he said.

And when to comes to comparing online sales to foot traffic?

“It’s not really taking away from what we do in the store, it's just adding to it so it definitely is the biggest peak these two days and even Saturday,” he said.