Black Friday spawns novel shopping days

A woman checks her list as shoppers browse through items on sale at a Target store in Rosemead, east of Los Angeles on November 25, 2011.

Black Friday has been a well-known holiday shopping day for some time, but it’s now far from alone. Many other themed shopping days now elbow for room around the Thanksgiving table.

Those who don’t want to brave Black Friday crowds at barn-sized chains like Walmart and Target can try Small Business Saturday. Shoppers at Stained Glass Creations and Beyond in Connecticut will again be able to get 10% off purchases this Saturday, along with other deals.

“It has worked out well. You definitely get some interest,” says Sean Gannon, who, along with his wife, owns the store and creates some of the pieces for sale.

Small Business Saturday was actually launched in 2010 by a gigantic business. American Express created and publicized the holiday with the goal of drumming up new cardholders.

A couple days later comes Cyber Monday, a phrase coined in 2005 by a retail trade group. The idea was people would shop online at work to take advantage of faster Internet connections there. Now home broadband is common, but online stores still offer deals.

Another holiday spending opportunity to gain popularity in recent years is Black Wednesday. The night can be a huge one for bars, fueled by party-minded young people home for the holidays.

“We see a lot of people that come in to go out and visit with friends that they haven’t seen in a while,” says Audrey Quevillon of Four Corners Tavern Group, which owns several Chicago bars.

A trio of those pubs is offering a $20 all you can drink Black Wednesday special to lure revelers in. Bars compete fiercely for this business, touting their deals and DJs, sometimes offering up treacly pumpkin pie-flavored shots.

All this leaves but one day untouched by themed shopping.

“Sunday I think could be a little bit of a stretch,” says Patty Edwards, a retail analyst and chief investment officer of Trutina Financial. “Getting some sort of a national campaign around that could be a little bit difficult.”

Until some clever publicist thinks of a way to brand Sunday spending, that is.

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter and substitute host for Marketplace, based in New York.

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