Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Black Friday!

It's Black Friday today, and many U.S. stores opened long before any of us had risen from slumber. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that 132.9 million Americans will shop this weekend, including Saturday and Sunday in addition to today. Many of these shoppers will fall into the 18-24 age bracket. Will this year's Black Friday compare to 2006?

Reuters reports that the Palisades Mall in New York City opened at 3 a.m., and lines had quickly formed at stores like Apple, Macy's, Old Navy and Circuit City. J.C. Penney opened to the public at 4 a.m., Toys R Us and Best Buy at 5 a.m., and Macy's at 6 a.m. In Geneva, IL, a line-up of about 150 people was cited to be in front of the Best Buy store, while big crowds had arrived at Sears and Kmart stores in the area to snag great deals on items like digital cameras, TVs, and toys.

In California, the San Francisco Chronicle says that people in the Bay Area were already forming lines yesterday at stores that weren't set to open until 4 a.m. today! CompUSA decided to start the festivities early, and began operation at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Meanwhile, over in Washington, L.L. Bean is opening a full 24 hours a day from now until Christmas Eve (December 24), says the Washington Post. J.C. Penney and Kohl's opened at 4 a.m., while Kmart employees got to sleep in until 7 a.m.

MarketWatch reports that the number of GAP outlets scheduled to have opened at midnight was more than double the number last year.

What's really disturbing is those anxious shoppers who have waited in line the night, or even several nights, before Black Friday in order to take advantage of the best deals. Whatever happened to a nice Thanksgiving meal? It seems to be more like "rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, I'm outta here to buy a TV!" Anyway...

The NRF's President and CEO is scheduled to release preliminary Black Friday results today at noon. I will try to follow up with these results and report them here.

As for the shopping frenzy, I've inferred two things from these results:

1) people seem to be seeking out, more than anything else, electronics, clothes, and toys. (That, or these are where the greatest deals can be found). And

2) if people are leaving the house at midnight to shop, it seems that one thing they are thankful for is money in the bank!

[Photo courtesy of]

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