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The spending season approaches

November 24, 2010 - Steve Murch
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then comes Black Friday. The big shopping day. The day that sets the tone for the Christmas season. Make or break.

At least that's the way it is portrayed every year. However, if it's so important, then why are there so many retailers with pre-Black Friday sales, AND some in metro areas jumping the gun with Thanksgiving Day sales?

The bigger question though is: Are retailers working under the assumption that by having earlier sales they'll spur more spending or are they simply trying to get some cash in the till now so they don't have to worry about it later?

We still have a down economy, and locally it's still in the tank. The only thing I take from it is that people have X amount to spend and they are only going to spend X amount. No one is going to spend more, but they might jump at the early sales to save a few more bucks and maybe get a little bit more, all the while staying within their budget. In that case, the retailers are simply getting cash in the till earlier.

Don't think that's right? OK, but let me ask this:

Do you think people are being more responsible with their money? No? Then why is it that all reports are that consumers are saving more than they did before the recession (and how in the heck did it end over a year ago and we didn't even notice)?

Yes, you can see all the lines of people extremely early looking for those extraordinary sales (and don't people realize there are only a few of those items, so they might not get what they want even though they got in line at 3 a.m.?), and it will appear lots of spending is taking place. But let's wait and judge until after Christmas so we can see if there was an early rush, a steady spending stream or (hopefully) an increase in consumer spending for the holidays – THAT would be a sign things are getting better.


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