Many businesses and shops hire extra help as consumers shop during the typically busy holiday season.
(USA TODAY) -- Forget Black Friday. Or Black Thursday. Several retailers are already touting pre-Thanksgiving deals this week.
by a shortened holiday calendar that leaves just four weeks between
Thanksgiving and Christmas, stores are pushing holiday deals earlier
than ever. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and appliance and electronics retailer h.h.
gregg have pre-Black Friday sales going on now. Target, Disney stores,
Kmart and Sears are among retailers advertising deals that start this
Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart, says it's offering the earlier deals for customers' convenience.
Holdings made the decision to offer early deals and door-busters based
in part on feedback from our Shop Your Way members, who sought more
flexible holiday shopping times and eagerness to shop door-buster
deals," Imran Jooma, an executive vice president with the company, said
in an e-mail to USA TODAY.
In a world of constant discounting,
retailers are stuck in a game of tit for tat trying to stay ahead of
each other, says Ronald Goodstein, associate professor of marketing at
Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. He's doubtful
retailers are going to generate more sales by offering earlier deals.
the Christmas season is going to be in the first week, and the rest of
it is just going to drop off," he says. "It's a bunch of hype just to
get people to take their actions sooner. I think the net effect is
retail this year is going to be disappointing."
The holiday season
is the biggest time of year for retailers. For some it can account for
20%-40% of annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
federation projects that retailers will have a little more than $602
billion in holiday sales, a marginal increase over last year. Wal-Mart,
the USA's largest retailer, says it expects fourth-quarter sales to be
flat amid an increasingly competitive retail environment and economic
But retailers are still trying to get shoppers in the
door over the next month and a half. Walmart is already offering
online-only specials, including savings on several brands of tablets and
$200 off an RCA 42 inch HDTV. At h.h. gregg, shoppers can save 35% on
appliances and 11% on the whole store right now.
that aren't offering sales this week are opening their doors on
Thanksgiving Day instead of waiting until the customary Black Friday.
Kmart isn't even waiting until dinner. It will open at 6 a.m. on
Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart and Best Buy open their stores at 6 p.m., while
Target, Sears, Macy's, Kohl's and JC Penney will open at 8 p.m.
Nielsen survey out Monday found declining interest in shopping in stores
on Black Friday: only 13% of consumers this year vs. 20% four years
Pushing customers to shop earlier may not necessarily lead to
more sales. While the retail federation projects holiday spending to be
up overall, it says individuals will actually spend 2% less than last
year because of concern over economic stability and their own finances.
idea that if we do it earlier, consumers are going to shop more and
more deeply - that's fiction," Goodstein says. "People have a set budget
they can afford in this economy. All (retailers) are really doing is
substituting an earlier shopping spree (for) a later shopping spree."
Black Friday 2013: