Kai Ryssdal: For those of you who have yet to hone your Black Friday retail combat skills, drop and give me 20. You've got less than a day and half before stores open, and it's going to be rough out there.
The National Retail Federation expects 150 million shoppers to hit the stores over the weekend. That's up 10 percent from last year. But sales, on the other hand, are expected to rise only 1.6 percent.
But Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports, Black Friday is also about what comes next.
Jennifer Collins: Dina O'Leary has been braving Black Friday sales in the suburbs of Seattle for nearly a decade. The first store she always hits is regional chain Fred Meyer.
Dina O'Leary: They have this huge sale on socks.
That's right. Not flatscreen TVs, not toys, not cashmere sweaters. Fifty percent off socks.
O'Leary: If it wasn't for the half-priced socks, we probably wouldn't be hitting Fred Meyer as our first place.
But those socks give Fred Meyer a toehold on Dina O'Leary.
Britt Beemer is with America's Research Group. He says a shopper who comes into a store on Black Friday is 60 percent more likely to come back during the holiday season.
Britt Beemer: If you win on Black Friday with shoppers, you've got a great chance of at least having a good Christmas season. If you don't win with shoppers on Black Friday, you're going to be a retail museum for the rest of the Christmas season.
Beemer says shoppers who get a great deal may also spend more than expected.
Beemer: Families will budget their entire Christmas season around what happens on Black Friday morning.
Retailers also use the sales as a guide to their future. Faith Hope Consolo is a retail analyst with Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Faith Hope Consolo: It really is the barometer on what's going to sell what's not going to sell.
And retail strategist Megan Donadio of Kurt Salmon says they're testing new deals all day long.
Megan Donadio: You're going to hear about certain retailers that have every hour, they're going to have a special.
Because they don't just want to get you in the door early, they want you to stick around.
I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.