Remember when Black Friday was confined to one manic day of megadiscount holiday shopping? For better or worse, the time-honored tradition of stampeding into your local big-box retailer the day after Thanksgiving to fight your neighbor for the last Tickle Me Elmo is going turbo. Retailers bracing for weak holiday-season turnouts are rolling out Black Midnights and even Black Novembers to attract more preholiday bargain hunters and beef up year-end sales. Target, Best Buy and Kohl's are inaugurating a 12 a.m. opening the night of Thanksgiving. Even retailers like Gap and Banana Republic are hopping on the Black Midnight train. And Walmart, not to be outdone by its big-box competitors, is opening two hours earlier.
The lack of sleep and time away from the family will be hard on employees, especially since online retailers may have beaten their brick-and-mortar counterparts to the punch. Amazon.com started rolling out its deep holiday discounts on Nov. 1. And those deals don't require putting up with disgruntled sales clerks or hour-long lines.
Shopping Is Up, Despite Worry
Consumer confidence is at its lowest level in 31 years
But new-vehicle sales are on pace to top 13 million in 2011
And retail, grocery and restaurant sales are up 7.9% in the past year
Sources: Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan; Commerce Department; Ward's Auto