This year’s Black Friday was notably less intense as bargains spread over two days.
The crowds, gathering at the biggest shopping centers, appeared to have exhausted some of their shopping enthusiasm on Thursday.
As last year, many retailers had opened their doors early to try to pull shoppers in ahead of rivals.
“The consumer clearly enjoys shopping on Thanksgiving,” said Target’s chief executive, Brian Cornell.
When opening the New York Stock Exchange for Friday’s shortened day of trading, Brian Cornell welcomed the way the holiday season “has moved from an event on Black Friday morning to a multi-day event”.
Many shoppers headed straight to the shops whilst still digesting their Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday, forming queues outside Macy’s by 6PM on what is becoming known as “grey Thursday”.
But if footfall was subdued, online sales came to the fore.
Wal-Mart said Thursday was its second-highest online sales day ever after last year’s Cyber Monday, the first Monday in December when many people order items they’d like to arrive in time for Christmas.
BestBuy’s website went offline after what the company said was “a concentrated spike in mobile traffic.”
The hope for many retailers is that the slowly improving US economy, combined with lower petrol prices, could push consumers to buy more than they have in recent memory.
Black Friday has been the top sales day of the year since 2005, according to ShopperTrak which tracks data on stores globally, beating into second place the Saturday before Christmas when last-minute shoppers stock up on Christmas gifts.
However, that could change this year as Thanksgiving shopping and online sales eat into Black Friday’s peak performance.
The earlier start to holiday shopping has placed even more focus on the plight of workers who must often leave their families in order to help shops open on Thanksgiving.
Ferguson protesters began targeting Black Friday sales at major retailers overnight in a new tactic to vent their anger at a grand jury decision not to indict a white Officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown.
About 75 demonstrators protested peacefully, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!”, bemusing bargain-hunters pushing their brimming shopping carts inside a Walmart in another nearby suburb of St. Louis.
They dispersed peacefully when ordered by a small group of police, moving on to a Target store where they staged a similar demonstration. More protests were planned for Friday.
Ferguson became a flashpoint for often troubled US race relations after Officer Darren Wilson shot dead Michael Brown on August 9.
The grand jury’s decision on November 24 not to charge Darren Wilson prompted a spasm of fury in Ferguson. About a dozen businesses were torched and more than 100 people were arrested in clashes with riot police that rumbled on into Tuesday night.
Before heading in convoy to Walmart late on Thursday, a group of some 100 demonstrators ate Thanksgiving dinner, sang, prayed and discussed their new strategy in the basement of a St. Louis church.
Ferguson, home to about 21,000 people, is a predominantly black city where almost all the political leaders and police are white.
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and their kids made a pre-Christmas Target run in Robina, a suburb of Queensland, Australia, over the weekend.
“Team at our Target Robina store are thrilled that Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their children shopped at Target today,” an elated Stuart Machin tweeted on Sunday, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and their kids made a pre-Christmas Target run in Robina
“They made sure no one was around to blow their cover,” a source told the Australian news outlet.
“The store manager waited until everyone had gone home and opened it up secretly for them at 7.30 pm on Sunday. She said they shopped for around an hour and a half to buy presents for their children and friends.”
Angelina Jolie, 37, has been on Australia’s Gold Coast over the past few months filming her second directorial venture, Unbroken.
JPMorgan Chase customers will be limited to $100 in cash withdrawals and $300 in total purchases per day if they used Chase debit cards at Target during a recent security breach, the bank has announced.
Kristin Lemkau, a Chase spokeswoman, told NBC News the limit applies to about 2 million customer accounts, representing less than 10% of bank’s customers. The limit does not apply to Chase credit cards.
Earlier this week, as many as 40 million debit and credit cards were compromised during a Target data breach, which the store said began just before Thanksgiving and ended December 15.
As many as 40 million debit and credit cards were compromised during a Target data breach
The security breach exposed customer names, card numbers, expiration dates and the short security codes known as CVVs. The industry blog Krebs on Security, which first reported the breach, has reported that card accounts are already being sold on the black market.
Target, eager to repair the public-relations damage and restore customer trust, has apologized and offered a 10% discount at its stores this week.
Chase did not immediately give a time limit for the restrictions. The normal daily limit for transactions on Chase debit cards is $500, and the normal daily limit for cash withdrawals is generally $200 to $500, Kristin Lemkau said.
Target has confirmed it was hit by a major data breach involving 40 million of shoppers’ credit and debit card information.
Customers who visited any of Target’s stores between November 27 and December 15 are at risk of having their credit and debit card information stolen.
Target said what to do if you visited one of their stores during that timeframe:
Closely monitor your credit and debit card statements for any suspicious activity.
Target has confirmed it was hit by a major data breach involving millions of shoppers’ credit and debit card information
If you find anything suspicious, immediately contact your bank. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission to report incidents of identity theft or call the FTC at (877) 438-4338.
Check your credit report. If you find information that appears to be fraudulent, request that the credit reporting agency delete that information from your credit report file. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from one of the three credit reporting agencies including Experian, Equifax and Trans Union.
Add a fraud alert to your credit report file with one of the three credit reporting agencies. That means creditors will be extra vigilant in protecting you, though it may delay your ability to obtain credit.
To reach Target directly concerning the breach and precautionary steps you should take, call (866) 852-8680. The company says as many as 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been compromised. Information that may have been stolen includes customers’ names, card numbers and three-digit security codes.[youtube pom42RDo_wE 650]
A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on Black Friday, the “busiest shopping day”, dropped from last year.
Holiday shoppers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the US this Black Friday, down 1.8% from last year, according to a Saturday report from the Chicago-based retail technology company ShopperTrak.
Those lower in-store sales figures were apparently impacted by hundreds of thousands of shoppers hitting stores on Thursday (Gray Thursday) evening after filling up on turkey and stuffing.
“Black Friday shopping continues to expand into Thanksgiving Day and will impact the way we look at all of the <<Black>> weekend results, since more shopping hours allows for more shopping visits and a smoothing of sales across all of the days,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.
Big chain outlets including Sears, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart opened their doors as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
A sharp rise in online shopping likely added to the drop in spending at brick-and-mortar stores this year.
E-commerce sales rose 17.4% on Thanksgiving and 20.7% on Black Friday, compared with last year, according to a recent IBM survey.
A recent survey shows in-store retail sales on 2012 Black Friday dropped from last year
Still, ShopperTrak said Black Friday foot traffic increased 3.5% this year to more than 307.67 million store visits – a sign that more people were browsing store shelves, if not making actual purchases.
“Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail,” Bill Martin said.
“This year, though, more retailers than last year began their doorbuster deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that’s usually meant for Friday.”
ShopperTrak estimated that foot traffic increased the most in the Midwest, up 12.9% compared with last year.
Foot traffic in the Northeast increased the least compared with last year, up 7.6% in regions that include those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.
ShopperTrak, which counts sales numbers from 25,000 retail outlets across the US, had forecast that Black Friday sales would grow 3.8% this year.
A separate survey from the National Retail Federation says holiday spending on both days combined will likely rise 4% this year.
Some positive signs of spending growth have been in the news in the past few months. U.S. consumer confidence rose to 72.2 in October, its highest level since February 2008 and up from 40.9 a year ago.
Yet many consumers are still worried about the slow economic recovery, high unemployment rates and a looming fiscal cliff.
A new survey has found that more customers are opting to shop from the comfort of their homes this Thanksgiving weekend, forgoing the chaos of Black Friday for the ease of Cyber Monday deals.
But web shoppers beware: For the first time, residents in California, Texas and Pennsylvania will be automatically charged state sales tax at the checkout on Amazon and other online stores.
And next year, they will be joined by shoppers in Virginia and New Jersey, and by January 2014, those in Nevada, Indiana and Tennessee.
What comes as bad news for shoppers comes as good news for Amazon’s competitors, who have expressed their relief at finally “leveling the playing field” with the e-commerce giant, which earned a staggering $17.45 billion in the holiday quarter last year.
Other stores have claimed that Amazon’s success is partly due to the fact it can undercut them by avoiding sales tax, which is as high as 9% in some states.
The changes are coming into play after individual states have passed legislation on online sales tax after Congress has failed to pass a national law. Chains including Wal-Mart and Target have been lobbying the bills, Politico reported.
“Now for a sizeable chunk of the U.S. population, Amazon is playing by the same rules as the rest of the retailers,” Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, told the site.
“There are going to be fewer people who shop online solely for the sales tax benefit.”
But Amazon maintains that it expects this holiday season to be its most successful yet.
“As analysts have noted, we offer customers the best prices with or without sales tax,” said Scott Stanzel, an Amazon spokesman.
“We collect sales tax or its equivalent in more than half of the areas where we do business and we are pleased to say we are thriving in those geographies because Amazon offers low prices, vast selection and fast delivery.”
Residents in California, Texas and Pennsylvania will be automatically charged state sales tax at the checkout on Amazon and other online stores
Yet some retailers said they are already noticing a difference in states were Amazon is collecting sales tax.
Best Buy has seen a four to six per cent increase in sales in California, Texas and Pennsylvania compared to the rest of the chain, Amy Von Walter, a spokesperson at Best Buy, told Politico.
“These are encouraging data points,” she said.
“It lends itself to the idea that a level playing field is good for business.”
Online sales during Cyber Monday last year reached $1.25 billion, up 22% from the previous year, according to ComScore. This year, the data firm expects $1.5 billion in sales that day.
Despite changes to sales tax, research has shown that more people are shunning the mania of Black Friday to shop from their homes on Cyber Monday.
A survey by shopping comparison site PriceGrabber.com revealed that almost half of all Thanksgiving weekend shoppers will shop online on Monday – and more than half of these said they would shop more online than at shops on Black Friday.
Of the 5,000 people surveyed, 41% of people said they would shop on Cyber Monday – up from the 37% in 2011, and 33% in 2010, Fox News reported.
Eighty-four per cent of Cyber Monday shoppers said they wanted to take advantage of one-day deals, discounts and free-shipping offers.
A third of shoppers said they would be shopping on Monday after scouting for deals over the weekend.
But although the interest in online shopping is growing, the total sales will still not come close to those in shops on Black Friday. Stores are expected to take as much as $11.4 billion.
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, was created in 2005 as an online alternative to Black Friday.
This year, as Black Friday begins earlier than ever – with retail giants nudging their opening times into Thanksgiving – e-commerce departments are doing the same.
Walmart emailed customers this week to reveal that its Cyber Monday sale will start this Saturday and last until Sunday, December 2, 2012 for deals on toys, electronics and video games.
Target, Best Buy and Amazon also announced they would have tech deals starting on Black Friday.
Amazon is also offering special Sunday deals – so that bargain hunters don’t have to click from their work computers come Monday – on golf equipment, clothing, lamps, books, clothes and cameras.
The biggest shopping day of the year has begun, as stores began to open their doors as early as 8 p.m. on the evening of Thanksgiving in an effort give customers as much time as possible to get their hands on Black Friday deals.
And shoppers wasted no time tearing themselves away from their families to take advantage of the sales, with stores such as Walmart, Target and Sears packed with desperate bargain-hunters.
While initial accounts indicated that the crowds were largely peaceful, avoiding the riots seen in previous years, many stores had an unusually heavy police presence, and there were some reports of scuffles between customers in packed-out shopping aisles.
And amid the shopping frenzy, two customers – a husband and a wife – were hit by a car in the parking lot of a Walmart on the edge of Seattle on Thursday evening, with the wife being airlifted to hospital after the accident which saw her pinned under the vehicle.
Stores from Target to Toys R Us opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening, hoping Americans will be willing to shop soon after they finish their pumpkin pie.
Target opened its doors at 9 p.m. on the holiday, three hours earlier than last year. Sears, which didn’t open on Thanksgiving last year, opened at 8 p.m. on Thursday through 10 p.m. on Black Friday.
Toys R Us opened at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than last year. And others such as Macy’s are opening at midnight on Black Friday.
When Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York opened its doors at midnight, about 11,000 shoppers showed up.
Overall, about 17% of shoppers plan to take advantage of Thanksgiving hours, according to a International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs survey of 1,000 consumers.
Shoppers queued up at Toys R Us in New York’s Times Square on Thursday evening
Retailers are trying everything they can to lure consumers into stores by making shopping as easy as possible.
In addition to expanding their hours into Thanksgiving, many are offering free layaways and shipping, matching the cheaper prices of online rivals and updating their mobile shopping apps with more information.
“Every retailer wants to beat everyone else,” said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, a research firm based in Charleston, S.C. “Shoppers love it”.
Indeed, there were 11 shoppers in a four-tent encampment outside a Best Buy store near Ann Arbor, Michigan. The purpose of their wait? A $179 40-inch Toshiba LCD television is worth missing Thanksgiving dinner at home.
With 41million people expected to shop on what has been dubbed “Gray Thursday”, police have responded to fights and threats between bargain-hungry customers, some of whom have camped outside stores for days.
The spats add to the discontent surrounding the stores, with employees frustrated about working on Thanksgiving, and Walmart workers threatening to protest over their pay, schedules and benefits.
Outside a Kmart in Indianapolis, which opened at 6 a.m. on Thursday, officers responded to a brawl between shoppers as some attempted to sell vouchers the store had handed out for limited items.
“Everybody started going crazy about it, and then the cops got called in and it just became a madhouse,” one shopper told News 8.
And at a Kmart on Stockton Boulevard in South Sacremento, one shopper threatened to stab people while waiting in line for K-Mart’s doors to open and told people he “wasn’t joking”.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after the threat – made after shop staff came outside to hand out “doorbuster deal” vouchers to the first in the line – to help control the crowds.
In a bid to minimize trouble, the Los Angeles Police Department deployed helicopters over some malls, while a cavalry of police officers on bikes and horses monitored from streets below.
According to the L.A. Times, others scoured crowds from rooftops and signs warned shoppers against becoming victims of theft.
It comes after a series of previous Black Friday incidents; at a Wal-Mart in the city last year, scores of people were injured when a woman pepper sprayed her competition in a bid for discounted video games. Two years ago, gunfire broke out at a Toys R Us, killing two people.
“For some people, shopping is a competitive sport,” LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith told the paper.
“But it should not be a contact sport.”
Officers are also working with stores to keep violent outbursts under control, and Best Buy even participated in training drills to handle the large crowds.
The Walmart where the pepper spray incident occurred will hand out vouchers for some items to avoid a scramble. If customers do not get a voucher for the item, they should expect there will be none left, management told the Times.
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.
The long-anticipated Missoni for Target collection was launched yesterday and almost immediately the Target.com website crashed.
“You may not be able to access our site momentarily due to unusually high traffic. Please stay here and we’ll try to get you in as soon as we can! Please know that there is no need to refresh your browser. Your request will automatically retry in 30 seconds,” the Target.com website displayed in a message. But the website still doesn’t work.
The zig-zag Missoni collection crashed Target.com website
People had begun forming the lines at Target stores around Los Angeles for the new Missoni collection at 5:30 a.m., with the line at the West Hollywood store wrapping twice around the block, according to KTLA.
Hundreds of shoppers lined up at many of Target stores early in the morning on Tuesday for a sale of limited offerings of its Missoni for Target collection of bikes, luggage, clothes and housewares.
And the Glendale store was reportedly sold out by 9 a.m. in Los Angeles.
The 400-piece Missoni collection includes apparel, accessories and housewares in the upscale Italian design house’s famous zigzag patterns. Prices range from $2.99 to $599.99, with most items $40 or less.
A preview showing in a New York pop-up shop sold out in less than two days last week. Ahead of the launch, Target also opened a temporary store in Manhattan at the start of New York Fashion Week last Thursday. But the colorful shop, which spanned six city blocks, was supposed to stay open for three days, but winded up closing after six hours because items sold out.
The Missoni collection was supposed to be available to the public from September 13 until October 22.
Target had planned to continue selling the line into October at all 1,700 stores around the country. But shoppers will be lucky if they can find something they want. In fact, based on a spot check by Target of stores in Minneapolis area, everything had sold out by Tuesday morning. Target is replenishing some merchandise over the next few days, but it will trickle in.
Some shoppers already are trying to capitalize on the fleeting nature of the Target’s Missoni collection. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 1,591 listings for Missoni for Target on eBay.com that were selling for more than double the price found at the discounter. Travel totes were going for $169, while shoes were selling for $129.99.