Black Friday online: Think Thursday

Nov. 22, 2010 at 9:59 AM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. retailers are pushing the boundaries of Black Friday through time and space, extending discounts through Internet sales, store representatives said.

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, long one of the most profitable day in retailing. It eventually morphed into a deep discount day and then expanded to the following Monday, aka Cyber Monday when shoppers returned to work and faster Internet links for shopping. But retailers now sense an opportunity with millions of consumers home on Thursday and computers capable of doubling as cash registers, The New York Times reported Monday.

"Just because they're at home on Thanksgiving and most stores are closed, that doesn't mean they don't want the opportunity to go online to shop," said Kevin Mansell, chairman and chief executive officer at Kohl's.

"It's going to be a very competitive day."

Consumers' ears might perk up: When a retailer uses the word "competitive" it often means discounts.

Last year, Cyber Monday receipts totaled $887 million, but that was up only 5 percent from Cyber Monday 2008. Online shopping on Thanksgiving last year totaled $318 million, a 10 percent increase from 2008, comScore reported.

In response, Black Friday-type discounts will be offered on Thursday by Walmart, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Macy's, J.C. Penney and others, the Times said.

"We think it's a way to get some of that early business. We'd rather capture it online than open on Thursday," J.C. Penney Executive Vice President Michael Theilmann said.

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