Retailers Offer Big Freebies to Lure Black Friday (and Thanksgiving) Shoppers

There are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019 than there were last year. And that’s making retailers a bit uncomfortable.

Many launched their “Black Friday” sales a week or two before people even started shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. And now that the big retail day is almost here, they’re doubling down in their efforts to draw in foot traffic.

Doorbusters aren’t always enough to lure shoppers off of their couch these days, since most are offered online and are frequently price matched by competitors. Shoppers who come to the brick and mortar stores, though, often grab more than just the items on their list. So to entice those people away from competitors, several stores are giving away freebies this year.

Here’s a look at who’s handing out what.


On Thursday, the retailer will be giving away at least 200 gift cards per store. Black Friday shoppers will see at least 100 gift cards handed out per store. Amounts will range from $5 to $500. Overall, Belk will give away $1 million in gift cards.

Half Price Books

The first 100 Black Friday shoppers will receive a free tote bag and a $5 gift card. One of those tote bags will also contain a $100 gift card.

JC Penney

Be one of the first in line Thursday for its early Black Friday sales (which begin at 2 p.m.) and you could receive a coupon that lowers your bill by $10, $100 or $500. Coupons can be used anytime that weekend.


The incentives at Macy’s are a bit different. Instead of handing out gift cards or food, they’re offering full mail-in rebates on certain doorbusters, but you’ll have to buy them (in store) by 1 p.m. Among the items are a Bella 1.5 qt slow cooker, Sedona aluminum fry pans, a Luminarc 4-piece glassware set and a Stearns and Foster pillow.


Walmart’s letting the doorbuster deals talk for themselves, but if you come early, stores will give you free coffee, hot chocolate and snacks, starting at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

World Market

Be one of the first 100 customers in the store Friday, Saturday or Sunday and you’ll get a $10 gift certificate and free tote bag.

Related reading:

Stores open (and closed) on Thanksgiving Day
—Not into cooking? These restaurants are open for Turkey Day
The best Black Friday deals for 2019
What to watch (and skip) in theaters and on Netflix over Thanksgiving weekend
In-demand items you’ll want to prioritize getting on Black Friday
—Black Friday weekend will deepen the divide between retail’s winners and losers
—Many of Amazon’s best Black Friday deals have one thing in common
—Walmart Black Friday ad: 8 deals you shouldn’t ignore
—Give these world-class experiences as gifts this holiday season
—The best white, red, sparkling, and dessert wines to give this year
Travel must-haves to give your favorite globe-trotters—The best brews for beer-lovers
—Must-have luxury items for everyone in your life
—Here are Oprah’s favorite high-tech things for 2019

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