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Retailers hope to get into your wallets sooner

Amy Scott Nov 25, 2011

Tess Vigeland: So what did you do this morning. Did you happily sleep through the night? Or did you brave the crowds and the cold to line up at the shopping mall? We talked to a few people in the latter category this morning.

Ravent Hunter: I just want to see Black Friday for myself. I’ve never participated in Black Friday. I’ve heard about the craziness and I thought, why not spend some money, catch the deals.

Jennie Covello: I’ve never seen lines like this. We actually just, like, hestitated and hovered in the middle of the parking lot. Did we even really want to do this?

Nicole Muir: The deals. I mean, I’ve been doing Black Friday with my mom since I was probably, like, 15. So I’ve done it almost every year.

That was Raven Hunter, Jennie Covello, and Nicole Muir from around San Diego. Of course Black Friday is not just a day anymore. Some of the big-name stores started their doorbusters as early as 9 o’clock last night — much to the dismay of their employees. And some have been running Black Friday deals since before Halloween. So in that spirit we’re going look ahead to the next big retail bonanza.

Here’s Marketplace’s Amy Scott.

Amy Scott: Dan De Grandpre tracks online promotions at The website’s motto: “Where Every Day is Black Friday.” And lately that seems to be true.

Dan De Grandpre: Because wallets are tight, retailers are trying to actually get into that wallet sooner.

That goes for Cyber Monday, too. That’s the term the National Retail Federation invented to describe the spike in online shopping once folks get back to work after the long weekend. Retailers like Target and Walmart are rolling out their Cyber Monday promotions on Sunday. And for some the day has stretched into Cyber Week. The problem is, De Grandpre says, shoppers will start to expect everything to be on sale all the time.

De Grandpre: So what will happen is that consumers will not really spend any more than they would have anyway.

For now, Cyber Monday remains a money maker for retailers. It was Amazon’s biggest single day last year. Comscore predicts overall shoppers will spend more than a billion dollars online this time around.

Analyst Frederick Moran with the Benchmark Company says the Black Friday madness in stores may actually help.

Frederick Moran: You don’t have to have the frustration of standing on a line or waiting for service or being out there in the middle of the night when you should be home sleeping.

And you don’t get pepper sprayed. But some trying to sneak in a little deal hunting at the office on Monday may be disappointed. Sixty percent of companies recently surveyed by Robert Half Technology block employee access to online shopping sites.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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