Retailers Escalate Battle for Black Friday Shoppers

Walmart Moves Black Friday to Thanksgiving Night (Reuters)

Black Friday PromotionsEven though it is early November, the Christmas selling season is already well underway.  If you visit stores or watch television, you are quickly exposed to holiday product displays and advertisements.  But, as most shoppers are aware, the real deals do not start until the Friday after Thanksgiving or, as more commonly called, Black Friday.

Black Friday has an interesting history dating back to the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that it REALLY became an important selling day.  Thanks, to aggressive competitors, Black Friday is now a battleground for retailers, who are not only looking to attract customers but are also seeking publicity.

To attract customers, retailers significantly expand store hours and offer fantastically low prices on select products.  Despite the fact that quantities of these bargains are limited, it does not seem to deter customers who line up hours before doors open.  Of course, leading retailers love this as it not only produces a long line of customers, it also attracts the attention of local television news stations, who seem to enjoy filming customers as they dash through the store seeking the best deals.

This year, the competition for customers and publicity has taken an even more extreme turn.  As discussed in this story, major retailers are fighting to be the first to open their doors for Black Friday shopping.  In fact, Wal-Mart has decided that Black Friday now starts the day before as they plan to open their stores at 10 pm on Thanksgiving night.

While Thanksgiving has long been considered a day of rest for most U.S. retailers, it seems only a matter time before all retailers just view this as another business day.

While the holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, the push to sell Christmas presents and other items has been moving earlier and earlier in recent years.

How much has the evolution of open-all-the-time online purchasing impacted store-based retailers’ decision to expand their store hours?

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