Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MORE HOURS, MORE DEALS; BLACK FRIDAY A 42-Inch TV for $448. A Coffee Maker for $3. Retailers Are Going All-Out to Convince Shoppers to Buy, Buy, Buy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MORE HOURS, MORE DEALS; BLACK FRIDAY A 42-Inch TV for $448. A Coffee Maker for $3. Retailers Are Going All-Out to Convince Shoppers to Buy, Buy, Buy

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

In the past, Black Friday meant the official kickoff of the holiday season's present-buying blitz - an opportunity for die-hard bargain hunters to rise at dawn and stand in line for once-a-year, unbelievable deals at local stores.

The great deals haven't changed. But the scope of Black Friday has. To coax recession-weary shoppers into their doors, retailers are expanding the event to include more hours, more days and more deals.

"I think retailers are trying to give consumers an opportunity to spend money, clearly," said Florida Retail Federation President Rick McAllister. "This will be better than last year, but it's still not going to be good."

That means a mixed bag for retailers. While big-box stores are expected to see sales increase, department stores and specialty stores might not get much of a sales bump in what looks like a lackluster year for the retail sector, he noted. Compounding the matter is a reluctance by many consumers to run up credit card debt in a down economy, he said.

And that's led to Black Friday creativity and more aggressive hours.

Among retailers working to enhance this year's shopping experience is retailing giant Toys "R" Us, which will open tonight at midnight , said spokeswoman Adrienne Giordano. The midnight opening will offer 70 doorbusters, or items for sale at discount, she said. Then, from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be an additional 50. Unpublicized "mystery deals" also will also be unveiled in the stores, she said.

"We're offering many opportunities for customers to shop and save with us," Giordano said.

Walmart stores will offer doorbusters from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. But unlike last year, when an employee was trampled to death by an early-morning stampede at a Long Island, N.Y., store, the chain will open most of its stores - including those not usually open 24 hours - at 7 a.m. today, but all will hold off on the six-hour specials until 5 a.m. Friday.

Target stores, which opened at 6 a.m. last year for doorbuster shoppers, are opening at 5 a.m. this year and offering Black Friday sale prices for two days. …

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