BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Retailers in the Dakotas are expecting strong holiday sales despite a summer of drought. Mike Rud with the North Dakota Retail Association and Shawn Lyons with the South Dakota Retailers Association say it was a good year in the agriculture community despite the dry conditions. North Dakota's economy also is bolstered by the booming western oil patch. And the two states didn't experience the severe flooding this year that they did in 2011. Rud says he expects holiday sales in North Dakota to be up 5 or 6 percent over last year. Lyons predicts the increase in South Dakota will be anywhere from 3 to 7 percent.
Many residents of the Dakotas didn't wait until Black Friday to get started on their holiday shopping, instead lining up outside stores on Thanksgiving. Crowds were reported in the major cities across North Dakota and South Dakota as some stores opened Thursday night and others early Friday. Temperatures in the early morning hours Friday were mostly in the teens, but shoppers said snapping up holiday deals is worth standing out in the cold.
Ashley Gaddis joked to KOKK radio outside a Huron Walmart that she might be a little nuts, but she encouraged others to take part in the holiday shopping tradition, saying, "Put your gloves on, get out there."
Black Friday is named because it traditionally was the day when crowds would push stores into "the black," or profitability.