According to analysts, the Black Friday shopping phenomenon has shown signs of moving online, with no repeat of last year’s chaos in some stores.
The 2014 Black Friday saw buyers fighting over bargains, websites crashing and delivery companies struggling to cope.
Black Friday, the discount day has its origins in the US, where it takes place the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally kick-starting the Christmas shopping period.
Online activity is said to be up, but expectations are for a longer period of discounts and shopping.
In the US, some retailers started offering deals early.
Macy’s said about 15,000 shoppers waited outside its Manhattan department store in readiness for its opening on Thanksgiving evening.
Amazon offered discounts in the lead up to the shopping event.
Washington-based National Retail Federation estimates that about 135.8 million Americans will shop during the four-day holiday compared with 133.7 million in 2014.
The US shopping bonanza has spread not only in Europe, but also countries such as Brazil and India.
Black Friday is still dwarfed by China’s Singles Day – the world’s biggest online shopping event. On November 11, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reported sales worth 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion), a 60% increase from 2014.
This year’s Black Friday sales fell 11% from the same period last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
US consumers spent on average $380.95 per person, down 6.4% from a year ago.
Overall, total Thanksgiving weekend sales were estimated to be $50.9 billion.
The NRF attributed the decline to shifting consumer habits, such as earlier promotions and the growth of online shopping.
“A strengthening economy that changes consumers’ reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend,” said NRF president and chief executive Matthew Shay in a statement.
Once more, retailers chose to open earlier on Thanksgiving Thursday in the hope of luring in more shoppers, with Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s and others offering special promotions for those first through the door.
However, those deals and earlier hours appear not to have convinced shoppers to spend, perhaps because they expect further deals as the holiday shopping period progresses.
The decline in sales surprised many, who had seen increasingly positive US economic data as well as lower gas prices as signs that the US holiday shopping season would be better than it has been in the past.
Last week, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its initial estimate of third-quarter US economic growth upwards.
The figures showed the US economy expanded at an annualized rate of 3.9% between July and September, up from the 3.5% first estimated.
Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals.
But the post-Thanksgiving sales may not in fact be the best time to snap up low-priced merchandise, according to a new analysis.
Researchers found that around a third of products advertised as being on sale for the holiday have been available at lower prices earlier this year.
More people than ever before are expected to abandon the tradition of family time and head to stores to get a head-start on Christmas shopping or treat themselves to cut-price gadgets.
This year, the consumer frenzy has even spread to Thanksgiving Day itself – redubbed “Gray Thursday” – with a number of major retailers opening as early as 8p.m. to attract those who are keen to leave the house after a day of turkey and television.
In the past, the Black Friday sales have resulted in riots as customers compete to snap up limited bargains – but for many shoppers, the threat of violence is apparently worth it for the prospect of uniquely good-value deals.
However, an analysis by the Wall Street Journal and Decide Inc. has revealed that many products popular on Black Friday are actually available cheaper at other times.
Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, with customers queuing for days and sometimes even resorting to violence in order to get their hands on the best deals
They surveyed more than 500 “doorbuster” bargains which have been promoted by stores such as Sears and Best Buy, and concluded that nearly a third had been sold for a lower price earlier this year.
The fact that Black Friday is not always the cheapest time to go shopping is not surprising, according to McKinsey’s Rob Docters, who suggested that many customers assume that the best bargains are available then without bothering to check prices on specific items.
“People associate Black Friday with good prices, and that eliminates the need to check price,” he told the Journal.
Sears is advertising the KitchenAid Series Stand Mixer at the special price of $319.99 this holiday season.
But in March, the same device was on sale at Sears for $296, according to Decide.
A spokesman insisted: “Our advertised prices are competitive.”
At Home Depot, a GE Adora dishwasher is advertised for $598, said to be a saving of $151.
But a Columbus Day offer in October pushed the price down to $538.
The company claims that the majority of its Black Friday deals are the best bargains of the year.
Other deals work out as uniquely cheap only when you include the value of gift cards given away with some items.
Experts told MarketWatchthat while some items, such as gadgets and white goods, are particularly good bargains on Black Friday, customers should hold off for other purchases.
Winter clothing and linens, for example, tend to be cheapest in January as stores clear out their stock in preparation for spring.
And those hunting for deals on luxury goods such as jewellery are likely to be disappointed – retailers like Tiffany’s are too worried about the blow to their high-end image to offer any sort of Black Friday bargains.
Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday: As the two streams of commerce – retail stores and online stores – converge, it’s hard to say where the best deals will be.
And, of course, many of the stores that consumers might visit in person are the same brand names that one might visit online.
But who ever said bargain hunting was easy? You have to do some homework.
To scope out Cyber Monday, definitely check the CyberMonday websites, and also the sites of any of your favorite stores or brands.
For Black Friday, check out the local newspapers, TV and radio ads, as well as looking online, on Thanksgiving Day.
5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Cyber Monday Rather Than Black Friday Sales
It’s easier and faster.
If you were busy with family or travel on Thanksgiving Friday and missed the in-store sales, Cyber Monday gives you another opportunity to take advantage of reductions.
You can easily compare prices online.
You can shop in your pj’s, from work, or while waiting for the plumber.
You don’t need a babysitter.
The five cons of Cyber Monday? You can’t “kick the tires” and see the merchandise, it might be hard to access a computer for shopping purposes, you’ll have to wait for shipping, and some people hate returning purchases by mail. Most importantly, your boss really might not love it if you spend Cyber Monday shopping at your desk!
Cyber Monday vs Black Friday
5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Black Friday Rather than Cyber Monday
You can actually see what you are buying — measure it, try it on, see if you like the color.
The prices might be better.
Not everything that’s on sale on Black Friday will be available on Cyber Monday.
It’s an outing. You can bring a friend or spouse for fun and advice.
If you don’t go, you might miss some great bargains!
The five cons of Black Friday? Some of the merchandise is lower-end; prices may continue to drop as the holiday season approaches; it’s too easy to over spend in the midst of a buying frenzy, it’s crowded, and the real bargains may be limited in quantity and sold to earlybird shoppers.
So, when to shop? Whatever your personal answer is, the smart thing to do is decide beforehand not just what you want to purchase, but also your budget parameters.
That way, come post-Thanksgiving Tuesday (a day for which, gratefully, there’s no retailing name yet), you won’t feel like a turkey with a hangover of buyer’s remorse!
The name of the Christmas shopping game for the next 11 days is pre-Black Friday.
No longer just a term to describe the days when consumers are waiting for Black Friday, pre-Black Friday has its own official space on the 2012 retail sales calendar, and the biggest U.S. retailers like Amazon (AMZN), Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Kmart (SHLD), and Aeropostale (ARO) are trying out some promotional moves in an effort to define the pre-Black Friday dance for the entire industry.
Retailers seem to have collectively come to the unspoken agreement that there’s really no fiscal logic behind waiting until the day after Thanksgiving before offering Christmas holiday shopping deals. So each year retailers dangle Christmas deals in front of online and in-store shoppers at earlier and earlier dates, to see just how soon Christmas shoppers are willing to put on their shopping shoes and join in the pre-Black Friday dance.
So, what hot deals and creative promotions do retailers have to offer to 2012 Pre-Black Friday shoppers who are willing to accept the new Pre-Black Friday shopping schedule? As is true for everything retail this time of year, the Pre-Black Friday promotions are announced often, and change quickly. But here’s some of the latest news from two of the biggest pre-Black Friday players, Amazon and Wal-Mart.
Free from any kind of brick-and-mortar history, Amazon was a notable first to disregard the Black Friday tradition, and because of that, Amazon is the retailer to beat for 2012 Pre-Black Friday sales. Amazon knows this, and is employing aggressive marketing innovations to maintain its Christmas sales lead. The mega Internet shopping site isn’t just sticking its toes into the pre-Black Friday sales pool. Amazon is jumping straight into the deep end of discounts right away.
Amazon Pre-Black Friday Deals
Amazon’s Pre-Black Friday deals so far include:
77% Off Kingston 16 GB Class 4 MicroSDHC Flash Card
60% Off SanDisk Extreme SSD 120 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s2.5-Inch Drive
Up to 70% Off Men’s Watches
60% Off Fishing Rods & Reels
Up to 60% Off Diamond Rings
Up to 60% Off Android Apps
Percentage-wise, there are very few retailers that are even coming close to Amazon’s pre-Black Friday Black Friday Deals Week.
Amazon is also using every technology and social media outlet available to communicate with and offer Christmas holiday shopping season deals to its virtual customers. That’s part of the mastery of Amazon – being able to build strong relationships with virtually no person-to-person interactions.
While many use the Black Friday sales as an opportunity to get big-ticket items at a bargain price, the style set knows that it is also the perfect chance to bag new season stock at a serious markdown.
And fashion retailers are well aware, with some opening as early as 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day so that fans can make the most of the holiday discounts.
This year, sartorially-inclined shoppers will find some of the best deals at Tibi, where fall collections will be 60% off, and J Crew Factory, where already discounted items will have a further 40% off.
For the cheapest bargains, head to H&M, where party dresses will cost from just $5, and Forever 21, which will have some items going for just a dollar.
Earlybirds will most definitely be catching the proverbial worm at Bloomingdales (the sale lasts from just 7 a.m.-1 p.m.) and C Wonder (an extra 50% off between midnight and 8 a.m.) – it’ll be well worth it for bleary-eyed shoppers at Zara on Manhattan’s 34th Street, who will be rewarded for their efforts with free tea and coffee from 5 a.m.
It’s worth getting in line ahead of opening time too, as those at the front will get gift cards at H&M and Topshop – and don’t forget store cards as there will be extra discounts at Saks Fifth Avenue and Target.
Even if the discounts aren’t that impressive, it’ll still be worth hitting some stores for the free giveaways. Victoria’s Secret will be giving away generous beauty goody bags on spends of $60 or more, and at Piperlime’s SoHo store, there will be free hot chocolate and holiday treats for all.
Black Friday 2012: An A to Z of the most stylish sales
The brand fronted by Chloe Moretz is taking 60% off everything apart from fragrances and beauty on Black Friday.
BANANA REPUBLIC (from 12 a.m. on Friday)
Banana Republic will be offering 40% off everything all day. Stores will also be open on Thanksgiving Day.
Banana Republic Factory Stores will feature 70% off everything from November 16-25.
BLOOMINGDALES (from 7 a.m. Friday)
At the Manhattan flagship, there will be discounts in all departments including 25% off all women’s denim – head down early though, the fun stops at 1 p.m.
C WONDER (from 12 a.m. Friday)
Before 8 a.m., there will be a further 50% off all sale items in store, and throughout the day there will be a 25% discount on everything online.
The denim favorite will be taking 30% off the whole fall collection.
A further 30% off sale items, currently discounted by 40%.
The Forever 21 sale starts tomorrow, with 30% off sweaters and some items priced between just $1 to $15.
On Black Friday itself, there will be further discounts on denim, pajamas and accessories.
GAP (from 12 a.m. Friday)
Shoppers who arrive before noon can get sweaters for as little as $19, and kids’ T-shirts for $5. The big discounts start well before though, with 60% off everything from Tuesday until Sunday.
H&M (from 12 a.m. Friday)
New season items – including holiday party dresses – on sale from as little as $5. Plus the first 100 people in line at H&M stores will win scratch-off gift vouchers, some with a value up to $300.
Black Friday 2012 A to Z guide of the most stylish sales
JCPENNEY (from 6 a.m. Friday)
There will be discounts across the board, but winter wear looks to be where the strongest discounts are.
Boots will be discounted to $25, $50 puffer jackets at $30, and JCPenney winter jackets, usually $70, will be discounted by up to $30.
J CREW FACTORY
From tomorrow until Monday, J Crew’s outlet is discounting every item by 40%.
KOHL’S (from 12 a.m. Friday)
The first price drops start online at midnight tonight, but on Black Friday itself there will be up to 70% off winter coats and jackets, sweaters for $9.99 and up to 60% off all winter fashion accessories.
Expect $20-30 off most other fashion items, and up to 60% off sterling silver jewelry.
MACY’S (from 12 a.m. Friday)
Discounts of up to 50%. Among the offers will be Charter Club cashmere at $49.99 Nine West and Kenneth Cole coats at 79.99 and boots for just $19.99.
The store has also launched a special Black Friday app to help customers plan their shopping day.
The J Crew sister chain is offering a 25% discount on all purchases throughout Black Friday.
NORDSTROM and NORDSTROM RACK
There will be extended opening hours on Black Friday (times vary according to region), and Nordstrom Rack shoppers will get a $10 gift card for every $100 spent.
Cardholders can claim double points on Nordstrom Rack purchases over the weekend and Twitter users can follow clues to find 25 green “Dots”, each worth for a $50 gift card.
OLD NAVY (opens at 12 a.m. Friday)
Everything is discounted with deals on coats, denim and tees. Shoppers can expect fleece tops and jeans from $15 and women’s boots for $12. Sales will continue into Saturday.
In celebration of Piperlime’s first holiday with a physical location, the SoHo store will open its doors an hour early on Black Friday and offer a hot chocolate and holiday treats.
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
Winter clothing will be discounted by up to 50per cent, with a further 50% off sale items.
Spend over $100 on beauty and get a $25 gift card. Make purchases on your Saks credit card after midday, and you’ll get another 10% off sale stock.
Get 25% off everything (with select exclusions) on purchases made in store.
SEARS (from 8 p.m. Thursday)
On the fashion front, Sears is offering discounts of 60% on handbags and 75% off on jewelry, as well as boots for as little as $19.99.
Ten items, from brands including Stila and Korres, will be on sale for $10 each.
There will also be generous discounts on many other items including Urban Decay eyeshadow for $6 and the Prada Candy Gift Set for $82 (usually $104).
The biggest discount will be on the Sephora Collection Color Daze Blockbuster, available for $49.50 instead of the usual $370.
TARGET (from Thursday at 9 p.m.)
There will be special discounts across the board, including clothing from as little as $10.
Those paying on the stores’s REDcard get an extra 5% off.
Pieces from the fall and pre-fall collections will be discounted by an impressive 60%.
There will be 40per cent off all stock, plus a 25% discount on spends of over $200 before 10 a.m.
The chain is offering $10 off $30 spends, $20 off $50 spends and those spending over $100 get $50 off and a pair of mittens (NY and Chicago) or a glitter nail polish and scarf, while stocks last.
There will be 30% off selected merchandise, spree prizes of $100, $200 and $500, and the first 200 in line at the New York and Chicago stores will get Early Bird gift cards.
The Las Vegas flagship will be open from midnight, and the first 500 will be eligible for gift cards.
URBAN OUTFITTERS (from 12 a.m. Friday)
The holiday sale has already kicked off at Urban Outfitters, but on Black Friday there will be an extra 50per cent off before 10 a.m. on all sale items.
Shoppers spending over $65 on Black Friday will get a limited edition tote filled with “Beauty Must-Haves” from the lingerie giant’s range.
The New York stores will be open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., with the exception of the 34th Street store, which will be open from 4am (with free tea and coffee from 5-8 a.m. for those early birds).
There will be discounts of 50% off selected items in all New York locations.
The history of Black Friday began in 1966, when a story appeared in an ad in The American Philatelist. The Philadelphia Police Department used the name to describe the traffic jams and crowding in the downtown stores.
In the past few years media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red with profits to being in the black with profits- nice!
Black Friday has been the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season since the 1930s. In fact, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week during the Great Depression because retailers wanted an extra week of shopping revenue. This pleased retailers, but irritated shoppers, who had to change plans.
Black Friday has been the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season since the 1930s
Black Friday has also been known as Green Friday and is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Hailing back to at around 1966, the day was originally popular in the East coast however since 2000 is more common in other parts of the country. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November. This year it falls on Friday 23rd November. Interestingly according to Reuters, in 2007 135 million people participated in the Black Friday shopping rush.
In 2008, Black Friday sales fell 3.4% from the year before, the first time since the National Retail Federation began tracking in 1992. The 2009 holiday shopping season was only up .4%, to $437.02 billion.
Thanksgiving weekend has become the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season with stores offering major sales and Black Friday deals to lure shoppers.
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday to retailers because it puts them “in the black” profit-wise. It is the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of traffic (though more money is spent on the weekend before Christmas).
Serious shoppers know they can score serious deals on Thanksgiving weekend. But it takes some savvy to find the best deals and fight the crowds. Desperate shoppers have been known to camp out overnight to be first in line for major deals on hot items (now that’s dedication).
Black Friday Sale Events in New York City
Best Buy Best Buy is promoting daily deals during the countdown to Thanksgiving. You can sign up to be alerted when new deals are revealed.
Ikea Take a trip to Brooklyn or New Jersey for Black Friday deals at IKEA.
JC Penney Check out the many in-store deals at JC Penney on Black Friday. Shop at JC Penney on Black Friday and you can also win prizes including 100 great American vacations.
Macy’s Brave the crowds to score major Black Friday bargains at Macy’s.
Old Navy At Old Navy, the doors open at midnight on Black Friday and there will be three rounds of doorbuster deals. Some early-bird shoppers will get free copies of the new Super Mario Bros. U game and Old Navy will be giving away 1,000 Wii systems.
Staples Staples is advertising early bird deals starting at 5am on Black Friday.
Toys R Us Get a sneak peek at the Toys R Us Black Friday ad featuring more than 200 doorbusters and “our lowest prices ever.”
What Else Is On Sale
Most stores keep their Black Friday sales under wraps until a few days before. However, we are usually able to track down some hot outlet and electronics store deals that have already been announced, along with some sites that will email you with updates as new info becomes available.
Some of the biggest Black Friday deals are usually found on hot electronics purchases (think iPad, video game systems, TVs, DVD players), so also keep an eye out for sales circulars from stores like Best Buy, J&R and Circuit City.
Thanksgiving weekend has become the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season with stores offering major sales and Black Friday deals to lure shoppers
Black Friday Holiday Shopping – Outlets
Woodbury Common Outlets After-Thanksgiving Black Friday Weekend Sale Midnight, November 23rd through 9pm on November 25th, 2012 Venture out of the city to save big on major brands at this holiday weekend sale event at the Woodbury Common outlets. It’s a short trip by car or public transportation. Outlet stores will be offering additional savings on their everyday low outlet prices. There will be added bargains for early shoppers when selected stores open at midnight on Black Friday for a full weekend of shopping madness. Santa and Victorian carolers will be strolling around to entertain you between purchases.
Extended sale hours for all stores: Fri Midnight-10 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. Crossings Outlets (Poconos) It may be worth a trip to Pennsylvania for this holiday weekend sale event. Stores will be offering additional savings above and beyond their everyday low outlet prices. You’ll need a car for the 1.5 hour trip to Tannersville in the Poconos.
Extended sale hours for all stores: Fri Midnight-10 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Black Friday Holiday Shopping – Electronics
Best Buy The Best Buy Black Friday sale starts at 5AM Friday morning at select locations.
Apple Rumor has it that Apple will once again be offering major Black Friday 2012 deals and once again will not reveal all of the sale detail until the week of Thanksgiving.
Black Friday Holiday Shopping – Department Stores
Check out what’s on sale on Black Friday at your favorite New York City department stores (you can see the famous holiday window displays while you’re there).
The following sites have advance information on sales and discounts at big online and chain stores like Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Staples, Radio Shack, Express, and more. Sign up for email alerts when new sale information is posted.
Black Friday Ads: See scans of Black Friday Sale ads and circulars from big-name stores.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
From Toys R Us to Target to Walmart, retailers are opening as early as 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
Toys R Us announced Monday that its Black Friday will begin on November 22nd, when doors open at 8:00 p.m. an hour earlier than last year.
To entice shoppers to line up even earlier, the toy retailer will give the first 200 customers at each location a free “Great Big Goody Bag” full of stocking-stuffers up to $30 in value.
“You can have your dinner, then come to our store. We all know that everybody gets burned out on turkey and football,” says Troy Rice, chief of store operations, who expects stores to have lines from 500 to more than 1,000 people by the time doors open.
Despite an increase in online shopping, Black Friday isn’t going anywhere. About 51% of consumers plan to go holiday shopping Thanksgiving weekend, according to a study out Monday from consulting firm Bain.
Opening earlier every year:
• Target. The discounter said Monday that doors will open earlier than ever at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, offering sales such as $199.99 Sony PS3 consoles and $49 Nook Simple Touch e-readers. From 4:00 a.m. to noon on the day after Thanksgiving, the retailer will give $10 gift cards to shoppers spending over $50 in some categories.
“Many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning,” says Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck.
• Walmart. Target’s announcement follows Walmart’s last week saying its Black Friday will start on Thursday at 8:00 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
• Sears. Consumers can start shopping at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving and keep on going until 10 p.m. the next day, says Sears spokesperson Brian Hanover.
“They drop their drumsticks, and they pick up doorbusters,” he says. Members of Sears’ ShopYourWay program can access Black Friday deals online starting on Sunday.
• Kmart. The discounter will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a break for dinner until 8:00 p.m. after which stores are open until 3:00 a.m. Stores re-open two hours later on Friday morning, and stay open until 11:00 p.m. Kmart has opened on Thanksgiving since 1991.
• Staples. The office supplier will give shoppers until 5:00 a.m. to digest their turkey dinners and start shopping its new inventory of big-screen TVs and video game consoles an hour earlier than last year. Those who arrive before noon on Friday can score savings over $200 on certain HP PCs with Windows 8. Additional deals will be offered all week starting on Sunday in store and online with free shipping to boot.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner
• PetSmart. And pets won’t be left out of the holiday excitement, either. Feline and canine Santa Clauses will be able to shop for their furry friends at PetSmart starting at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, the retailer announced Tuesday.
Black Friday deals include $19.99 Sunbeam Gourmet Dog Treat Makers, and 50% off pet toys and doggy sweaters. Select online-only pet products will be 75% off starting on Monday. After all, 76% of pet owners give Fido or Fluffy presents for the holidays, according to PetSmart.
2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before.
Opening at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year, the world’s largest retailer says they hope to relieve shoppers’ anxiety while also guaranteeing three of their most popular items for a special one hour.
If lined up inside the store between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, those three items guaranteed are: an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi for $399 plus a $74 Wal-Mart gift card; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148, down from the original $228; and an LG Blu-ray Disc player for $38, about half off the original price.
If those inside during that one-hour window find the product sold out, Wal-Mart will offer a guarantee card for the item.
The item must be paid for by midnight and registered online. The product will then be shipped to the store where it was purchased for the customer to pick up before December 25.
“We know it’s frustrating for customers to shop on Black Friday and not get the items they want,” said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division.
To satisfy customers’ demands for coveted items, Wal-Mart “bought very deep” on products that matter to its customers, he said.
Duncan MacNaughton declined to offer details but he told reporters on Wednesday the discounter is offering sharper discounts and broader, deeper assortments for the kickoff and the rest of the season compared to years past. For example, Wal-Mart doubled the number of tablet computers it’s bringing in for the winter holidays.
2012 Black Friday sales will have Wal-Mart throwing open their doors earlier than ever before
The stepped-up strategy comes as Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is counting on keeping its momentum going at its U.S. business, which started roaring back late last year after struggling during a more than two-year slump.
It’s critical for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for as much as 40% of a retailer’s annual sales.
Wal-Mart’s strategy raises the competitive stakes for the start of the holiday season.
American retailers have increasingly expanded their hours on Black Friday to get ahead of the competition, but now the kickoff is creeping earlier into Thanksgiving Day.
Starting with the 8:00 p.m. sale on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart will have two more rounds of sales that will also include a consumer electronics sale two hours later and a sale at 5:00 a.m. on Friday.
Last year, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Kohl’s were closed on Thanksgiving and kicked off Black Friday sales at the stroke of midnight, their earliest starts ever. Best Buy Co Inc, Macy’s and Kohl’s all plan to open at midnight again, while Target has not given its plans yet.
Sears Holdings Corp’s (SHLD.O) Sears and Kmart stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Last year, Sears kept its discount chain Kmart open on Thanksgiving but the Sears chain was closed.
This year, Sears stores will open at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stay open overnight until 10:00 p.m. on Black Friday. Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving for the last 21 years.
In 2011, Wal-Mart began with deals on toys, home items and clothing at 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by electronics deals at midnight and other offers at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, November 25.
Most Wal-Mart stores will be open on Thanksgiving, unless they are required to close by local or state law.
Wal-Mart has faced protests in various U.S. cities lately and some workers have planned to walk off the job on Black Friday. Such actions are being sponsored by groups including a contingent of workers called OUR Wal-Mart that receives union support.