Day #86 – Black Friday

Day #86 – Black Friday

What is this curious tradition from the US, and increasingly marked presence of this event in Canada.

The retail border has no crossing guards I found out. Let’s read what Wikipedia had to say about this holiday.

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in many British Commonwealth countries. Black Friday is not actually a holiday, but most non-retail employers give their employees the day off, increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005,

[1] although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate,[2] have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time.[3]

The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.[4] Use of the term started before 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are “in the black”.[5]

For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00, but in the late 2000s, many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohls, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Bealls) will open at midnight for the first time, forcing employees to either go without enough sleep or miss all or part of Thanksgiving with family. A backlash has resulted, with an online petition gathering more than 184,000 virtual signatures urging Target to let their employees have Thanksgiving with their families instead of their employer.[6] Walmart will open at 10:00 on Thanksgiving night and Toys ‘R’ Us at 9:00. In 2010, Sears was open on Thanksgiving day.

Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, the day after occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Here is an article By DEREK ABMA, Postmedia News November 24, 2011 7:38 AM,

Black Friday makes mark in Canada

Frenzied first day of Yule shopping traditional in U.S

A “Black Friday” sale sign greets shoppers at Atmosphere at City Centre mall in Edmonton.

Photograph by: Bruce Edwards, The Journal, Postmedia News

An aspect of U.S. culture has been gradually creeping into Canada, and you might notice it at some stores over the next few days.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States and marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season there. Stores offer enticing deals in hopes of attracting Americans who – after a relaxing day of turkey and football – realize they only have about a month left to shop before Christmas.

Canadian retailers, in recent years, have become increasingly aware that Canadians have been taking notice of the Black Friday hoopla. Many of them cross the border to take advantage of deals offered in the U.S.

Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist of BMO Capital Markets, said the idea of Black Friday is becoming a bigger deal in Canada, but data doesn’t yet indicate it is an overly significant factor in holiday shopping here.

That’s in contrast to the United States, where it’s the busiest shopping day of the year. In Canada, that’s usually Dec. 23.

“Our sense is that (Black Friday) is slowly but surely finding a bit of an echo in Canada,” Porter said. “Retailers here do feel at least some need to answer some of the very high-profile discounting that we see in the U.S.”

As in past years, Walmart Canada will have a sale starting Friday that lasts through the weekend. This year, for the first time ever, it will be billed explicitly as a “Black Friday” event.

“Our research shows that over 70 per cent of Canadians recognize the term (Black Friday),” said Susan Schutta, Walmart Canada’s director of corporate affairs.

Other retailers also are joining the fray.

Victoria Spada is spokesperson for Toys ‘R’ Us Canada, which is offering discounts for a week starting Friday. She said if Canadian retailers don’t step up to get the attention of shoppers at this time of year,  many of their dollars will be crossing the border for the rest of the holiday season.

“Black Friday sales in the United States are typically a huge draw, not only to the U.S. consumer but also to a Canadian consumer,” she said.

“Obviously, we see Canadians wanting to do their holiday shopping – whether it’s beginning it or just finishing those holiday wish lists – south of the border. Consequently, that means a loss of sales for local retailers and the Canadian economy itself.”

Future Shop is offering in-store-only bargains on Thursday and sales that include items online and in stores from Friday through Sunday.

“We know Canadians love to shop, and they’re becoming more familiar with the U.S. version of our Boxing Day, which is Black Friday,” said Elliott Chun, communications manager with Future Shop.

Promotional efforts by Canadian retailers are falling short for some, such as 30-year-old Kim Piewes of Ottawa, who has made shopping in the U.S. on Black Friday a tradition for several years.

“Canadian retailers offer Black Friday sales? I had no idea,” she said when asked if discounts here would make her reconsider her cross-border trips.

Piewes said finding deals like a mitre saw for $35 U.S. that would go for almost $300 in Canada make the 200-kilometre trip to outlet stores just east of Rochester, N.Y., well worth the effort.

“There is no outlet in Canada that I have found that can compete with their pricing,” she said. “My dollar has always gone further in the U.S.”

A recent survey for Bank of Montreal found that 18 per cent of Canadians polled said they would venture to the U.S. on Black Friday or at some other time for some holiday shopping. That was up from 13 per cent last year.

While the Canadian dollar has slipped below parity with the U.S. greenback recently after spending most of the year at more than $1 U.S., it’s still relatively high by historical standards at the mid-90-cents U.S. range. Porter said the power of the loonie is one of the main factors that has led to increased participation of Canadians in U.S.based Black Friday events, or cross-border shopping in general.

He said if the Canadian dollar was in the low-to mid-80-cent U.S. range, which is where it should be based on its international purchasing power, “this really wouldn’t be an issue at all.”

The Bay won’t be holding a special Black Friday event, but shoppers will be able to save money during the store’s holiday sale promotions, said Hudson’s Bay Co. public relations director Geri McCuish. She said The Bay will continue to hold its heavily discounted “one-day” sale promotions leading up to Christmas. Asked if the store is worried about not jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon, McCuish did not appear to be concerned:

“We have a our own Christmas and winter program,” McCuish said. “We believe strongly that our marketing will work.”

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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By | 2016-10-21T10:12:58+00:00 November 25th, 2011|365 Day Makeover, Customer Service, Sale Events, Seasonal|Comments Off on Day #86 – Black Friday