America's biggest shopping weekend will see people in their droves buying pre holiday goods. Known as Black Friday, up to 152m people plan to shop over the three days after Thanksgiving, according to the National Retail Federation.
According to the Financial Times, Black Friday sets the tone for the end-of-year shopping season, which in turn is a make-or-break period for many US retailers struggling to defend market share as unemployment and a weak housing market keep consumer sentiment fragile.
Macy’s, the department store, was one of several retailers to open at midnight and outside its Manhattan flagship several thousand shoppers were lined up to rush through the doors in search of bargains.
Shopper surveys have suggested holiday spending this year will rise by between 2 and 4 per cent from last year.
In 2010, holiday sales increased 5.2 per cent to $452bn, returning back to the level of 2007 after two years of declines.
Households are “running very tight budgets” and retail executives are concerned about the effect of bleak global economic news on their willingness to spend, said Bob Drbul, retail analyst at Barclays Capital.
“The early opening strategy is to get a jump on the nerves they have,” he said.
Target and the department store Kohl’s opened at midnight, as did Best Buy.
Spending on Black Friday has historically made up about 10 per cent of holiday sales, which account for about 20 per cent of annual retail spending.
Image: Holiday Shopping