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Crowds Return To Stores This Black Friday, But Supply Chain Issues Pose Challenges

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This Black Friday, bargain hunters did something we haven't seen in over a year – they showed up in person.

As CBS 2's Tim McNicholas reported, crowds of shoppers were seen shuffling in and out of Loop storefronts all day Friday. It was a welcome change for retailers after the pandemic kept many shoppers at home last year.

But this Black Friday comeback could make those supply chain challenges we've been experiencing lately all the more challenging.

In 2020, Tami Doig wasn't comfortable shopping anywhere. One year and three COVID-19 shots later, she was out with her daughter in the South Loop.

"Not interested in like the crazy, trying to be part of the crazy mess at the big box stores, but we wanted to support this store," Doig said.

The store she was talking about is Kido at 1137 S. Delano Ct., a local business that sells clothes, books, and yes - the toys on your little one's list.

Owner Keewa Nurullah said the flow of customers today reached pre-pandemic levels.

"The tide has turned," Nurullah said. "People are out shopping. We get to see our favorite families out shopping."

And she expects the holiday shopping surge to keep up.

But thanks to supply chain woes, she is already running low on some scooters and musical instruments.

"Things are going to disappear," Nurullah said. "it makes things stressful when you have those bestsellers that you know sell every year, and they're just not there this year."

And that is even after she already stocked up on some of her hottest holiday toys months earlier than usual.

Big box retailers also stocked up early. Black Friday crowds were dense as they were caught on video at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, and Aurora police tweeted that the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall reached capacity and temporarily stopped letting shoppers inside.

Back in the South Loop, Nurullah is brainstorming ways to help out customers if the gifts on their list are gone.

"Our customer is, they're with us for a reason, and so if we give a suggestion for another item that could fill its place, I think they trust us to make those choices," she said.

Even with those challenges, Nurullah is just happy to welcome customers back. Last year, about 80 percent of her holiday sales were online.

Right now, her sales are about 50-50 - half online, half in-store.


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