It was also reported that the following categories are the top-ranked sellers:
4. Gift cards
In past years, retailers did not like the Black Friday websites that leaked their secret deals before hand; some retailers even sued, insisting that their circulars be removed. Not anymore: this year many retailers sent the Black Friday sites their specials. And for the first time we can remember, television commercials used the term “Black Friday”.
Outlet malls are reporting strong sales and heavy crowds. So are malls. At Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee, Illinois, hundreds of customers lined up well before midnight to take part in the mall's Rockin' Shoppin' Eve. The doors opened 1:00 AM for lots of free stuff including entertainment, hot chocolate, giveaways, raffles and exclusive store coupons. J.C. Penney’s opened at 4:00 AM and the line there was a long one, too. At least at this location customers could wait inside where it was warm. This year Penney’s also offered shoppers a special wake-up call so they wouldn’t over sleep and miss all the fun.
Tooling around Chicago-land in the wee hours we saw long lines of shoppers waiting at Kohl’s Target, Wal-Mart, Circuit City and Toys ‘R Us. At 5:20 AM people were streaming out of Old Navy with bags – and we mean BAGS – full of bargains. And the lines for the check outs were loooooooooooooooooooog. Kohl’s offered shoppers a lagniappe: for every $50 spent, shoppers received a $10 gift card.
Target helped shoppers get organized by posting in-store specials on their website at 3:00 AM. The online circular also included specials that were not featured in the print circular.
Once again, Sam’s Clubs served customers free breakfast. Food is Good!
Best Buy was a mad house. Doors opened at 5:00 AM but customers were already waiting in line Thanksgiving evening. Some were wrapped in blankets; others stayed warm in make-shift tents. Best Buy trained their store associates on what to expect – they even had Black Friday rehearsals. Associates began to hand out coupons for the deals at 3:00 AM, along with coffee. Once the store opened shoppers found plenty of associates to help them make product decisions.
CompUSA was open on Thanksgiving from 9: PM until midnight. They served pumpkin pie to shoppers waiting in line.
And smart independent retailers across the country also opened early to get their share of the Black Friday pie. Cat Beaty, owner of Cat’s Creations Scrapbooks in Mineral Wells, Texas did big business on Black Friday 2006. Judging from this article which appeared in the Mineral Wells Index, Cat is expecting another great day. You can read an excerpt from the article below.
“Levity and competition seem to be the themes at Cat’s Creation Scrapbooks. Store owner Cat Beaty is employing her “upside-down bag sale” for the third year on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The upside-down part comes in the timing of the event – her prices will drop as the day progresses, for instance, she said that from 5-6 p.m., one specific item will be on sale for 25 percent off. Then from 6-7 p.m. an item is 30 percent off and 7-8 p.m. a specific item is 35 percent off.
Also on Friday, Beaty will have a special bag in which “anything that fits in the bag is 20 percent off” during store hours Friday – 10 a.m.-8 p.m. She added that the bag has coupons on the side, which can be used in December, provided they remain on the bag.
Lately, she has had people, from the ages of “75 down to the 20s,” coming in plotting heavily on what they will purchase beginning Friday.
Beaty said that she has been implementing suggestions provided by retail consultants Kizer and Bender, and said she has “been rolling with it.”
Additionally, all Cat’s Creation cash register receipts for purchases between Nov. 23 and Dec. 13 can be used for Cat’s auction bucks. Beaty said that customers spend between that time so they can have more leverage for the auction on Dec. 13, who characterized this as a highly competitive event where people get “plumb righteous.”
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More later. We’ve got more shopping to do – Happy sales!