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Continued: Black Friday no longer a one-day affair

Retailers don’t release financial data on Black Friday, though Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Target and other major retailers were proclaiming that traffic was steady, even record-breaking.

NPD Group analyst Marshal Cohen observed that with the one-two punch of Thanksgiving sales and midnight openings on Friday, consumers saw a “more civilized shopping experience” than Black Fridays past.

Retailers such as Kohl’s, Target and Best Buy each opened with 200 to 300 customers at their doors, but crowds were orderly. Retailers have learned to avoid the crush of shoppers by handing out tickets in advance and distributing the doorbuster items one by one instead of allowing a shopper free-for-all.

Retailers are also limiting many doorbuster purchases to one per customer.

Diana Thor of Roseville said that she was at Herberger’s in Rosedale to buy herself a pair of $80 boots for $20.

“I’ve got more shopping to do, but this is why I came out to shop tonight,” she said.

Stan Poffenberger of Minneapolis waited until 10 p.m. to start his shopping at Wal-Mart in Bloomington, but he was still happy with the 10 items he purchased, including a TV, all for himself.

Poffenberger figured that he had saved about $600 on his purchases, but was disappointed to see that his receipt showed a savings of $138.

“I guess was too late for the doorbusters,” he said.

Fighting consumers’ expectations that they can always get a door-busting deal will be a challenge, analysts say. Even if retailers succeed at extending the shopping energy beyond the weekend, the jury’s still out on whether it will translate into higher Christmas sales, Niemira warned.

“Maybe all of these days, including Thanksgiving, is creating a bigger event than just a Black Friday,” Niemira said. “But it may not be as good a bellwether for how the overall season does. We’ve seen that many times — a weak Black Friday and a strong overall holiday season. It’s tough to read too much into it.”

 

jackie.crosby@startribune.com • 612-673-7335

john.ewoldt@startribune.com • 612-673-7633

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