Malls and stores gearing up for holiday shopping season

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The official start of the holiday shopping season is only one week away. Malls and local retail stores are gearing up for the Black Friday shopping spree. Despite the ongoing pandemic spending expectations are high.

Holiday decorations are up and Christmas music is already being played in some stores. Retailers are hoping people come in and spend, spend, spend.

The countdown to Black Friday is on and shoppers at Eastview Mall Thursday night were already hitting the retail stores for a little holiday window shopping.

"We’re taking a little preview around what’s going on," Erica Padulo said. "Doing a little shopping as well. There’s deals obviously going on right now, and they’ll be more on Black Friday so I’m excited."

Most stores such as the Pepper Palace are already fully stocked with merchandise. Retail experts predict this shopping season will not only beat last year’s but also challenge sales numbers last scene back in 2019. Store Manager Mike Renner and his team want a piece of the action selling every type of hot sauce you can imagine.

"The name of the game in retail is to put money in the register, and sell product. So yes anytime we can set record numbers it’s a banner day for any business. We’re absolutely looking forward to Black Friday," Renner said.

One shopper we talked to plans to skip the Black Friday madness and shop online.

"I already know the stores are going to be packed especially stores like Apple, and certain clothing stores so I try and start at least a month and a half, 2 months early. Even earlier than that buying stuff online for me, my wife, and kids," Kyran Ashford said.

Things are just the same at the Mall at Greece Ridge, according to Director of Marketing Melanie Fazio.

"We had some early holiday shopping already. So it’s been busy amping up for the holiday season," Fazio said.

Although most COVID-19 rules have been loosened, wearing a mask is encouraged while inside, but not mandated. Capacity limits still exist at some stores.

"They will abide by that, and we can have people line up in front of the stores if that happens, but those stores will let you know when they reach that occupancy," Fazio said.

What’s shopping without a visit with Santa Claus. Fazio told News10NBC families will have the option to let their children either sit on Santa’s lap or stand in front of him for pictures.

Click here to see local mall hours.