Shoppers can do Black Friday week right
BY ANNE D'INNOCENZIO Associated Press
Friday, November 09, 2012
11/09/12 at 6:56 AM
NEW YORK - Get ready for Black Friday week.
Stores are making a big push to lure in bargain-hungry shoppers before the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. They are putting on special sales that further creep into Turkey Day - and earlier.
"It's no longer Christmas creep. It's Christmas crush," said Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm, referring to the bevy of Black Friday deals that shoppers will be able to buy earlier that week.
Many are also targeting smartphone shoppers with apps that make it easier to shop the deals. Macy's shoppers using the department store chain's new Black Friday app will even get alerted to special unadvertised deals while they're in line at the store.
But don't get caught up in the shopping madness. A smart and measured approach to buying will preserve your holiday budget.
Here's how to do Black Friday the smart way:
Research the deals and compare prices: With Thanksgiving two weeks away, you should start mapping out a strategy now. Make a list of what you want and how much you want to spend. Check out decide.com, which uses data to help you decide the best time to buy a certain product.
A bevy of websites already have posted stores' Black Friday deals. Check out sites like bradsdeals.com and the blackfriday.com that list hours and circulars for the holiday weekend.
Use social media: Follow your favorite stores' Twitter feeds and click the "Like" button on their Facebook pages. Stores will use their social networks to update shoppers on deals and store hours, says Carey Rossi, editor-in-chief of ConsumerSearch.com.
Spread out the shopping: A number of stores are now allowing shoppers to actually buy the early-bird specials even earlier in the week.
Macy's, Kohl's Co. and Best Buy Co. will open again at midnight following Thanksgiving. For the first time, department store chain Lord & Taylor is opening on Thanksgiving, starting at 10 a.m. New this year at Kohl's: Its online shoppers will be able to buy all early-morning specials on Nov. 21, and like last year, all day on Thanksgiving.
Sears Holdings Corp. said its Sears stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will stay open overnight until 10 p.m. Friday. For the first time, Sears will allow members of its free loyalty club called Shop Your Way to buy some of the early-bird specials online as early as Sunday, Nov. 18.
Wal-Mart will start its first Black Friday sale at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year. It then will have two more rounds of sales events, including a 10 p.m. sale on electronics and another sale at 5 a.m.
Keep your receipts: With a growing number of stores like Target Corp. offering price matching with certain online rivals like Amazon.com, you may find a better deal later and will have an easier time returning the more expensive item.
Shoppers wait outside a Target store in Lisbon, Conn., before the store opens for Black Friday shopping at midnight last year. Stores are making a big push this year to lure bargain-hungry shoppers before the day after Thanksgiving. Associated Press file