Will Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide the gust that lifts the retailing industry up?

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the entire year, in the biggest shopping season of the year, comprising nearly 20% of annual retail sales. With many people waiting outside stores for hours huddled in blankets and sleeping bags to be the first to get the major deals, the shopping bonanza is expected to bring much needed revenue to major retailers, especially since the addition of Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Black Friday, when all the deals move online to retailers such as Amazon.com).

Last year the nation spent 16% more than in 2010 on Black Friday weekend. Even with the looming fiscal cliff, people are expected to spend even more this year. Contributing to this increase are some creative sales gimmicks by major retailers.  For instance, Wal-Mart is opening up earlier this year (at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day), but also hoping to get more people to stay in the stores longer by having special sales that begin at different times during the night and early morning.  Overall, the National Retail Federation expects to see an increase of 4.1% in sales this holiday season, starting on Black Friday and going until Christmas.

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