Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday Spending

First off, for those of you who don't know what it is, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.

The term dates back to at least 1966, although its usage was primarily on the East coast. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier.

The term "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day, but more recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit).

This year consumer spending was slightly higher on Black Friday. I suppose the stores opening earlier and less supplies of popular products wouldn't be to blame would it? Preliminary sales data already show shoppers spent $10.66 billion when they hit the malls on the day after Thanksgiving, up only 0.5 percent more than last year,according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp.

Shoppers crowded stores and malls in the wee hours Friday, some after spending the night waiting in line, to grab early morning deals and hard-to-find items. The nation's retailers expanded their hours and offered deep discounts on everything from toys to TVs in hopes of getting consumers, many of whom are worried about high unemployment and tight credit, to open their wallets. 

A number of stores, including Walmart and many Old Navy locations, opened on Thanksgiving, hoping to make the most of the extra hours. Toys R Us opened most of its stores just after midnight Friday. Which makes me wonder if people even celebrated Thanksgiving.

So hopefully with all this added time to shop, when the final numbers come out about Black Friday sales we'll see a greater increase in spending.

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