Black Thursday? Sales Start Early Again This Year

black friday 300x214 Black Thursday? Sales Start Early Again This YearThanksgiving is right around the corner and because the holiday puts us in a giving mood, it marks the beginning of the annual shopping frenzy. Historically, the first major sales of the year have begun the day after Thanksgiving, dubbed Black Friday. In recent years, however, retailers have started sales early on Thanksgiving Day or at the stroke of midnight.

This year, retailers are planning for early Black Friday sales again and some are opening earlier than ever before, such as Sears and Wal-Mart—both opening at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving.

Best Buy, Kohl’s and Macy’s will all open at midnight while Toys “R” Us, JCPenney, and Target have not yet announced when they will begin Black Friday sales. Last year, JCPenney was the only store that didn’t start early.

The trend is lasting and growing because the strategy appears to be working for retailers. Stores that opened earlier last year saw an average 22 percent increase in sales according to Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at NPD Group. More consumers are awaking from their turkey nap and hitting the stores as well. According to the National Retail Federation, 24 percent of last year’s shoppers said they took part in midnight Black Friday sales when two years earlier, it was only nine percent.

Personally, even though I’m the kind of shopper who loves bargains, I’ve never done Black Friday for a number of reasons. My mom, however, is a long-time regular so I asked her about the Black Thursday concept. She’s not yet participated but said, “If something I want is on sale, I’ll go out at midnight in my pajamas, sure!” Oh what a sight…

As I turned to my BBB colleagues for more opinions, I discovered that one of the world’s most avid Black Friday shoppers was among us. Monica, who said she’s shopped Black Friday sales since she could walk, goes every year with her mom and sister and spends no less than 14 hours getting all the best deals!

But she’s not a fan of Black Thursday. Monica went last year and said she’ll never do it again because the deals were the same—nothing special. Others at the BBB were opposed to consumerism forcing its way into Thanksgiving Day and time with our families.

So it is worth it for retailers to start Black Friday early? What do you think? What experiences have you had or heard about? How does the economy play into the trend?

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About Megan Herrera

Megan Herrera is the Denver/Boulder BBB's public relations specialist. She has been with the BBB since 2004.