November 28, 2008

Black Friday Starts Annual Retail Rush

Shoppers will be out in droves Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but the droves will be smaller than a year ago, a U.S. retail trade group said.

That National Retail Federation said 128 million U.S. shoppers will visit stores this weekend, starting with a rush for sales on Black Friday, named for the day that traditionally pushes U.S. stores into the black each year, USA Today reported Friday.

Bargain hunting is the name of the game. Google reported searches for Black Friday have risen 41 percent from a year ago while searches for coupons rose 59 percent. Searches for free shipping rose 11 percent, while buy one get one free searches rose 200 percent.

Amid the flurry of transactions, sales will diminish profits, retail consultant Janet Hoffman said.

This weekend, we'll see very crowded malls, but whether that converts to real dollars, we don't know. I'm not confident we'll see real growth, said Hoffman, the global retail director for consulting firm Accenture.