Black Friday has traditionally has been the day when retailers banished the red ink from their ledgers, and after two tough recessionary years, the biggest shopping day of the year may once again live up to its name.
Despite lingering unemployment woes, a National Retail Federation survey estimated that 138 million Americans will hit the stores on Black Friday and the weekend following it, about four million more than last year.
“Retailers are cautiously optimistic about sales this year,” said Kathy Grannis, a federation spokeswoman. The estimated increase in shoppers is “certainly inspiring, but retailers also understand that their customers are still struggling.”
As a result, stores have started early with sales and have been getting the word out via their websites, Facebook and Twitter. The importance of Black Friday has hardly faded away.
Getting a head start
Retailers got an especially early start this year, attracting shoppers with pre-Thanksgiving sales and other promotions as early as October. Many will continue into December.
Whether it’s before or after Turkey Day, retailers are lowering prices on the most popular items.
“Retailers are going full force, making sure to discount all the hottest toys and electronics,” Grannis said.
Become a fan and save
Social media is playing a huge role for retailers this year as they strive to get shoppers spending.
“Our Facebook and Twitter accounts are really active right now,” said Jessica Carlson, a spokeswoman for Target.
Target also is offering shopping advice from Amy Sedaris through online videos and tweets.
Macy’s has listed more than 200 Black Friday deals on Facebook for the first time, and coupons for the retailer are also available.
Only one Black Friday
Despite the pre-Thanksgiving and online sales, the Black Friday deals are the year’s best. “Retailers still have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to wowing even the most pessimistic holiday shopper,” Grannis said.