Sparta Report

Retailers Rush Out Black Friday Sales Early

This is no surprise to hear. Given the terrible state US retailers are in, many of them are desperate for customers and desperate for dollars, and will do anything and everything they can to get shoppers in their front doors.

Another backdrop to this dash to Black Friday is the intense competition between Walmart and Amazon, who have been at each others’ throats ever since Walmart hired Marc Lore and bought his site Jet.com, to form the core of their turnaround efforts.

Are you ready to rush out and shop, Spartans?

Best Buy on Wednesday began offering “Black Friday” discounts on hundreds of items, including big-screen TVs, Apple Watches and tablets. Walmart followed a day later, with $6 pajamas and $998 Samsung TVs. Amazon.com, meanwhile, started its “Countdown to Black Friday” on Nov. 1, offering dozens of new deals each day. (Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

In an ever-frenzied race to win over shoppers — and their money — retailers are trying to fast- forward to what has historically been the year’s largest shopping day. Over the past decade, big-box chains have slowly moved up doorbuster discounts — from Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), to the Thanksgiving holiday itself, and now even earlier, as they try to lock in sales during the crucial fourth quarter, which can account for up to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue.

“No matter how you look at it, Black Friday has already begun,” said Sarah Engel, chief marketing officer at retail analytics firm DynamicAction. “As soon as the calendar turned to Nov. 1, our inboxes were full of promotions and discounts.”

In-store doorbusters are shifting earlier, too. J.C. Penney plans to open its stores at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, while Toys R Us, Best Buy and Kohl’s will follow three hours later. Walmart and Target are planning to open at 6 p.m.

For those who are interested, the Verge has the best and most comprehensive roundup of all the “early” Black Friday deals that I have seen.

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