ORLANDO, Fla. — The busiest shopping day of the year has arrived.
Malls and shopping centers all over Central Florida are preparing for Black Friday shoppers.
This part of the shopping season is critical for the success of many retailers.
With Thanksgiving being later this year, businesses are in a rush against time. There are only four weekends left until Christmas.
The last time the holiday shopping season was so short was in 2013.
Operators of stores like Bay Hill Jewelers want customers to keep shopping on their minds.
"Sending out early emails, just to make sure people had the holidays on their mind and remembering to shop local,” Stacey Papp said regarding the store's strategy to attract more customers.
Experts said less time to shop hits small businesses the hardest. With Christmas just weeks away, most people will only have time to shop for gifts on weekends.
"Because most consumers tend to shop on the weekends, given that you have one fewer weekend with which to work now it crams it into 26 days or four weekends," said Anand Krishnamoorthy, a UCF marketing professor.
To make up for the lost shopping opportunities, many businesses started offering sales before Black Friday.
Cox Media Group