Move over, Black Friday: There are sales happening earlier than you.
Area retailers said beginning Black Friday a day early is a matter of responding to the customers’ requests for greater convenience.
Justin Tidwell, a manager at Target in Florence, said the decision to open at 9 p.m. today is the result of the public requesting it and other retailers moving toward a pre-Friday opening.
This is the first year the major retail outlet has opened on Thanksgiving. Tidwell said his store will base next year’s decision on when to open on this year’s sales.
“We’re expecting it to be even bigger than Black Friday because people are already up at that hour, and for many there’s not much else to do,” he said. “We’ll pretty much run the same specials that we’ll have on Friday. There will be a few items on sale Friday only, but for the most part it will be the same. And, yes, we’re expecting the same kind of lines we have on Black Friday. In fact, being a new concept we’re thinking (tonight) could exceed Black Friday sales.”
Other retailers are planning Thanksgiving openings, too. Wal-Mart is opening at 8 p.m.
As for this year’s hot items, all things electronic are included in the mix.
According to Smarthouse Lifestyle Technology Guide, the items that are in a slump this year are plasma televisions, MP3 players, game consoles, DVD and Blu-ray recorders, portable media players and digital cameras.
With consumer electronics globally set for sluggish growth this year, Smarthouse reports the bad news for retailers means good news for consumers as prices are more attractive this holiday season for the most wanted items like tablets, smartphones and LCD televisions. Although those items are on the rise in terms of sales, the high availability means more reasonable prices.
Locally, the hot items for retailers are basically a repeat of last year, with the exception of iPads. Large-screen LCD televisions, laptop computers and iPods are all part of what retailers said are making the most-wanted list this holiday season.
Tidwell said his store will have “decent quantities” of the big sale items, but as usual, the rule is the earlier you shop, the better your chances for the best deals.
Doug Barrett, the chair of the economics and finance department at the University of North Alabama, said retail institutions are having to use new strategies, such as earlier sales and pre-Black Friday sales, to help offset poor sales in previous years.
“They’re really desperate to get more customers out,” Barrett said. “It’s not uncommon this year to have sales before the big sale.”
Still, he said, there are advantages to shopping Black Friday.
“You have all the stores offering deals on Black Friday as opposed to an individual store here and there prior to that day,” Barrett said. “Spending money helps the economy, bottom line. Anything that encourages people to spend money is good for the economy.”
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.