Personal Finance

Tom Hudson: Sound and fury on Black Friday quiets — a little

Is Black Friday still a thing? Sure, there will be door-buster deals at the strike of midnight early Friday morning. Yes, some stores will open their doors Thanksgiving afternoon betting shoppers will open their wallets. And, it’s true that retailers have been successful in an Einsteinian feat of stretching time by making “Black Friday” last several days.

Black Friday hasn’t held true to its etymology roots for many years. The financial condition of a modern retailer doesn’t hinge on one day. With around the clock selling, personalized shopping suggestions and dynamic pricing, retailers and their investors can’t afford to wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving to ensure profitability. It’s measured quarter-to-quarter, month-to-month and product-to-product.

Black Friday is turning increasingly grey but it’s not for the lack of trying to stay relevant. There will be special discounts, plenty of advertisements and lines of unnecessarily frenzied shoppers. Through the years, consumers have been conditioned to release pent up spending on Friday, or risk miss out on a deal. Competition and technology have sapped the day’s profit power. At least one chain, privately owned outdoor gear retailer REI, has turned its rejection of BlackFriday into it’s own marketing strategy. REI stores will be closed and it’s website will postpone digital orders if made on Friday.

No major retailers are following REI’s lead. After all they have public shareholders to answer to. However, the holiday spending season does not begin in the week ahead, it just continues.

Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts The Sunshine Economy on WLRN-FM in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.

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