From "Black Friday" To "Black Five-Day"

In an effort to create a "calming effect across the store," the world's biggest retailer Walmart has decided to abandon the chaotic one-day-only "Black Friday" sales model and will instead, as WSJ reports, offer its best deals on television sets, toys and other gifts over a five-day period beginning in the last week of November into early December. As more and more firms open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day itself, by spreading out the 'deals' from Thursday to Monday, Walmart is hoping to avoid the sometimes-violent scuffles that have come during Black Friday.

 

As WSJ reports,

Wal-Mart is abandoning the frenzied one-day-only “Black Friday” sales model used to jump-start the annual holiday-shopping season.

 

The world’s biggest retailer instead will offer its best deals on television sets, toys and other gifts over a five-day period beginning in the last week of November into early December. Wal-Mart also will have some of its deepest discounts online to better cater to shoppers who have grown accustomed to quick home delivery and the ability to check real-time prices on their mobile phones.

 

“It used to be called Black Friday, then it became Thursday, now it’s a week long,” said Wal-Mart U.S. chief merchant Duncan Mac Naughton. “Maybe we should just call it November.”

 

Mr. Mac Naughton said Wal-Mart is trying to cater to the changing tastes of shoppers who no longer find it appealing to camp out in the middle of the night in hopes of snagging a steal.

 

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The change at Wal-Mart follows similar moves by competitors to stretch out the shopping festivities. Black Friday deals had already started to encroach on Thanksgiving dinner and spill across the entire weekend.

 

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Retailers also are working to avoid the sometimes-violent scuffles that have come during Black Friday so-called door-buster sales. Wal-Mart upgraded its holiday crowd-control measures after a worker was trampled to death by shoppers in 2008 at a store in Valley Stream, N.Y.

 

Spreading out the deals and assuring customers that they won’t have to stand in line for a product that might not be available produces a “calming effect across the store,” Mr. Mac Naughton said.

 

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Wal-Mart will report results for the latest quarter on Thursday.

 

In August, the company cut its earnings forecast for the year, citing sluggish consumer spending, increased health-care expenses and greater investments in its e-commerce operations.

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Of course, one wonders how much demand is dragged forward from later-holiday-spending as the 'Black Friday' meme once again is played out in front of American's greedy eyes... especially with yet another year of stagnating incomes, lower quality jobs, and rising prices (oh apart from Gas, which means everyone is flush!)