First thoughts on Black Friday 2011

From a RetailWire post at the end of October, right after Macy’s and Target announced their midnight openings. I comment (below) on the effect of coupon sites on overall post-Thanksgiving business and the trend toward earlier hours:

Black Friday still attracts shoppers for whom “the thrill of the hunt” (and the collective experience) is part of the fun. So “daily deal” sites like Groupon may not have a huge impact on results, given that most retailers open their Black Friday specials for sale on their websites a day early anyway. This is the ultimate “deal of the day” shopping experience.

As to extended hours, in about five years we’ll all look back with nostalgia about the “good old days” when stores actually closed on Thanksgiving and gave their sales associates a much-needed break with their families. If two mainstream companies like Macy’s and Target are leading the way, the rest of the retail world won’t be too far behind. The ever-shifting game of expanded hours may be convenient, and it may be a way to capture market share (until the other guy catches up), but it is no long-term substitute for compelling pricing on great merchandise. Let’s hope that is part of the Black Friday formula this year, too.

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