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Did the Economy Sound the Death Toll for Black Friday?

Did the Economy Sound the Death Toll for Black Friday?

Black Friday is traditionally known as the biggest shopping day of the year. With the state of the current economy still at a low point, how did Black Friday 2009 shape up? Did consumers bring the ka-ching to the nation’s retailers or has Black Friday turned red?

Overall, retailers made some major changes in their Black Friday preparations this year. After slow sales last year forced many retailers to slash prices just before the Christmas holiday to clear inventory, retailers were more cautious this year on how much inventory they had in stock. Last year, the registers showed a 3.4% drop in sales over previous Black Friday receipts, but the expectation this year was raised to only a 1% drop in sales, according to The National Retailer’s Association. Overall projections for Black Friday sales were $437.6 billion. On a bright note, consumer spending was up .7% in October, according to the Commerce Department. This percentage was better than expected.

Shoppers were out in full force this year, but many seemed to be keeping a close watch on how they spent their shopping dollars. Most shoppers were definitely looking for items that were a good deal. Typical shoppers were expecting plenty of sales still to come before the Christmas holiday.

Online shopping is seeing a surge as well, although here too, consumers were looking for the best deals. Last year, Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, was the day online sales came out in full force. This year, Cyber Black Friday was part of the overall shopping mania. Many Cyber Black Friday deals will run through the weekend, but by Cyber Monday, shoppers may be looking at empty wallets, due to all the early sales.

Retailers were harnessing the power of social media outlets like Facebook to broadcast sales with special promotional codes and text messages being sent out to those who signed up on the social media giant. This year’s early promotions of Black Friday, including early sales, prompted many new Black Friday shoppers this year, who were lured out to the malls for the first time to join the crush.

While the shopping was heavy, many Black Friday veterans were foregoing the video games, toys and electronics of years gone by and sticking more to the basics, like clothing, sports gear and watches. The tighter economy has caused many shoppers to spend their holiday dollars on practical gifts rather than just fun and games.

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