Shopping News for the Holidays

Author: Sam Peters
Published: November 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

The signs first show up in stores around late September and early October. Tucked in with the Halloween and Thanksgiving-themed sales are Christmas ornaments, a few trees and some lights.

Before you know it, Thanksgiving arrives, and with it comes Black Friday. This is the unofficial start of the holiday season, and what happens in the next four weeks often makes or breaks a department or discount store’s fiscal year.

The biggest transition this year took place as several chains, including Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, opened their doors on Thanksgiving night to energetic shoppers looking for big bargains. This is the first year these chains have tried a holiday-night opening en masse, and the strategy appears to have worked despite protests from a handful of employees  and those against business bumping up against holiday and home life.

The next busiest day so far this year has been Cyber Monday, when online retailers open up their discounts to the public. Online jewelers with brick-and-mortar presence like Zales and Kay entice customers to order items for their significant others in secret, but pure online presences like FantasyJewelryBox, an online jewelry retailer, also give customers a chance to spend their hard-earned cash on trinkets and goodies.

It isn't just jewelers that get to have fun. Electronics are among high-ticket items that go out the door, including game consoles, big-screen TVs and satellite radio systems. Best Buy, a chain that has had its share of struggles in recent years, is among the biggest purveyor of electronic goodies that shoppers of all ages love.

Speaking of chain stores that need a little – or in this case a lot – of help, JC Penney is betting buttons will help spice this year’s sales. The store, up until Christmas Eve, has 80 million buttons to hand out among its locations. The buttons contain a code good for store merchandise or even a trip to see Ellen DeGeneres, the chain’s spokesperson, at a taping of her syndicated TV show.

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