US retailers are hoping to increase their sales on the so-called “Black Friday” after the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a critical shopping day because it is the traditional start to the U.S. holiday shopping season and generally sets the mood for consumer spending throughout the holiday season.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the US economy so it is important for retailers to boost up their sales at a time the US economy is trying not to slip into a recession.
Retail executives and analysts are predicting a more competitive season than 2010. Unemployment still remains at 9 percent, European debt woes are weighing on the stock market and consumer confidence remains low. Black Friday arrived with consumer sentiment at levels previously reached during recessions, as a record share of households said this is a bad time to spend.
The National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, forecast a 2.8 percent increase in sales for the November-December holiday season, down from the 5.2 percent increase in 2010.
Many shoppers are hoping to get bargains and some are camping outside stores before they open so that they can get first hand at half off deals.
The discounting has been more widespread than last year as retailers tried to woo shoppers spooked by global economic uncertainty and stagnant job growth.
Many retailers even opened on actual Thanksgiving Day in an attempt to boost sales.
Black Friday was so named because that is when many stores become profitable and are “in the black” in accounting books as opposed to “in the red”.