Retailers Aim to Cash-in on Black Friday
Celebrated on the last Thursday of November, Thanksgiving Day in the United States is followed by Black Friday, with retailers kicking off the holiday shopping season with a host of specials that have some shoppers camping out on their doorsteps overnight to be among the first through the doors when they open. The origin and meaning of the term “Black Friday” is a matter for debate, but today it is generally accepted to mean that retailers operating at a financial loss (in the ‘red’) for most of the year, are likely to turn a profit on that day (in the ‘black’) as shoppers descend in their droves to take advantage of specials.
The American Black Friday concept has been adopted in the UK this year as Asda (owned by Wal-Mart), John Lewis and Amazon are offering British buyers up to 70% off selected items as Black Friday promotions. Moreover, some retailers in the US have stretched Black Friday from the traditional one day into several, starting after Veterans’ Day and continuing until after Cyber Monday. While most retailers are closed for Thanksgiving Day, many are opening on Thanksgiving evening in an attempt to get a jump-start on competitors – and there are plenty of shoppers taking advantage of the extended hours. Tech-savvy shoppers will find a number of mobile device apps aimed at making their shopping experience more productive, but Black Friday shopping is not a leisurely affair and some shoppers have been known to become quite aggressive in their quest to grab a deal on products with stock limitations. Reports of shoppers being trampled and assaulted are not uncommon.
Shoppers who don’t want to join the crowds have the option of shopping online, as a number of retailers, including Target, will be offering in-store deals to online shoppers early on Thanksgiving. Other stores are prepared (with some exceptions) to match the price of advertised competitor deals. Lowe’s and Home Depot have reportedly offered to beat competitor prices by 10% if the shopper brings in a current competitor’s ad (again, with some exceptions). Online retailer giant, Amazon, is offering Black Friday prices on big-ticket items, delivered to the shopper’s door.
While retailers and shoppers cash-in on the marketing extravaganza of Black Friday, investors will no doubt be keen to know how the stock-market listed retailers in their investment portfolios have fared.