Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: November 29, 2021

Busy Thanksgiving weekend could be holiday gift to Maine retailers

Photo / William Hall On Black Friday, shoppers braved chilly rain to look for bargains at the Maine Mall in South Portland.

Mainers and Maine visitors braved sometimes dismal weather to get the holiday shopping season off to a strong start, according to many reports.

The National Retail Federation this month predicted that 66% of holiday shoppers in the U.S. planned to do so over the long Thanksgiving weekend. That amounts to an estimated 158.3 million people, up from 156.6 million last year — although still below the 165.3 million in pre-pandemic 2019.

Black Friday, Nov. 26, was forecast as the top shopping day, when 108 million Americans expected to make purchases. A total of nearly 63 million said they would be shop today, Cyber Monday. The numbers also showed a return to brick-and-mortar, with 64% saying they were planning to shop in stores, up from 51% last year.

In Maine, hard data for weekend sales isn’t yet available, but malls, streets and stores were crowded.

people standing in line at street corner outside of a retail store entrance
Photo / William Hall
People waited in line on Friday to enter the Patagonia clothing outlet in downtown Freeport.

Heidi Neal, owner of the Rockland-based pet supplier Loyal Biscuit, told Mainebiz, "We had a fantastic weekend and I am hoping this sets the tone for a great holiday season. We are well-stocked and ready to go! If this weekend is any indication of the next four weeks, it should be a good holiday season for retailers."

On behalf of the Retail Association of Maine, Christine Cummings said members of the trade group were generally upbeat. However, she warned that the season is just beginning and external factors could influence the outcome.

Weather can be a help or a hindrance, she said. And then there are supply chain shortages. “It’s not just a shortage, it’s the variety in availability,” she said Monday. Logistics hold-ups can be difficult to predict, so consumers should plan to make purchases as soon as products are available, she advised.

The retail frenzy can be frustrating for both purchasers and purveyors, as the long lines at some stores demonstrated over the weekend.

Cumming urged shoppers: “Stay kind, and embrace the holiday spirit.”

Photo / William Hall
Shoppers nearly filled a parking lot at a Walmart store in Falmouth during the first weekend of the holiday season.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF