Black Friday shoppers check prices on train and bus trips to save time

The cuts this year – the biggest in years – are designed to bring the industry into better financial health and boost long-term prospects So many retailers have slashed prices as part of their…

Black Friday shoppers check prices on train and bus trips to save time

The cuts this year – the biggest in years – are designed to bring the industry into better financial health and boost long-term prospects

So many retailers have slashed prices as part of their sale plans for the annual Black Friday extravaganza that it has now become a focus of retail watchers. The discounts, which take place the day after Thanksgiving, are designed to bring the industry into better financial health and boost long-term prospects.

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“It’s the kickoff event for the year and it’s the point of focus for shoppers,” said Jan Cooley, a retail analyst at research firm Retail Advisors Network. “Shoppers are much more interested in bargains than merchandise.”

There are now more than 700 locations holding Black Friday sales, according to retail industry tracker Edited. Nearly 40% are publicly listed companies, and 27% are small businesses, such as food truck vendors and clothing shops.

The day after Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the “War of Christmas” and had such a huge impact on commerce that it has since been turned into an American holiday in general, typically on the fourth Thursday in November.

Black Friday’s growth has slowed since 2011. But more Americans are shopping on the day itself, and researchers see sales of electronics and other gifts as a key indicator of shopping trends.

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, is expecting sales to rise 3.7% this year, which would be a slight improvement from last year’s 3.3% increase.

But it’s not just the US holiday season that has added to the day’s momentum. The busy shopping days after Christmas also draw extra shoppers – for example, Black Friday is followed by deals that become available on Boxing Day.

• This article was amended on 17 July 2018 to clarify that DataFinder.com is an internet research firm rather than a retail comparison site.

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