Stretching Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day Could Backfire

Friday, 23 Nov 2012 07:43 AM

By Michelle Smith

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Black Friday was once an anticipated shopping occasion the day after Thanksgiving. Then, it spilled over into the weekend. Now, it has engulfed the holiday too. But this race for consumers' bucks might backfire, according to Forbes.

Black Friday shoppers continue to get smarter about how they spend their cash, says Forbes. That makes it tougher for retailers to stand out in the crowd — and all the more essential that they pursue every last minute strategy that they can to catch the wave of the Thanksgiving rush.

This does not necessarily mean that continually stretching Black Friday is a winning idea.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

A new survey by consulting firm Deloitte, find 60 percent of consumers plan to shop over the weekend, with the majority planning to shop on Black Friday, according to Forbes.

Even if retailers get shoppers to come in on Thanksgiving, it isn't clear that the early sales would accomplish much — and costs might actually increase in the longer run, says The Wall Street Journal.

“The holiday shopping season is basically a zero sum game: People spend what they are going to spend,” The Journal states.

“What retailers are doing with tactics like opening ever earlier on Thanksgiving, then, is fighting for a bigger share of holiday spending, as opposed to making the pie bigger.”

If people spend now, that just means that they don't spend later. As a result, the increasingly aggressive retail tactics in November seem to act as a drag on spending in December.

As opening earlier becomes more standard, the gains will likely erode, especially considering that much of the attraction to this shopping event is the sale pricing. But the costs will remain and could increase. This is especially probable as the job market improves and wages rise, according to The Journal.

Also, to be considered is the backlash.

As of Friday, Change.org had 91 petitions against Black Friday sales that start on Thanksgiving, spokeswoman Charlotte Hill told USA Today. Moreover, there is a highly publicized protest by Wal-Mart workers expected on Thanksgiving and throughout the weekend.

"It creates the public persona of these big corporations who just care about profit," says David Johnson, CEO of public relations agency Strategic Vision. "Thanksgiving used to be sacrosanct," he told USA Today.

The holiday may ultimately represent a retail strategy gone wrong.

“The reason retailers began the Black Friday arms race was to spark sales boosts that would appeal to investors. The irony is that all they may accomplish is a narrowing of profit margins that makes their shares less attractive,” The Journal concludes.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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