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(CBS Detroit) — COVID-19 will have a huge effect on Black Friday this year, much as it has on everything else. Some of those effects can already be seen in the expanded holiday shopping season, which has been going on since mid-October. Other effects will become more evident over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
At one time, Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The name is derived from the day retailers see their balance sheets turn from red to black. According to Jie Zhang, Professor of Marketing and Retail Management at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, “the legend was that retailers work their heads off for much of the year, and it’s only the beginning of the holiday shopping season, that is, the Friday after Thanksgiving, that they turn black. So they turn red to black, meaning that this is first day they’re going to start to making profits. Obviously, it’s by no means precise.”
The holiday shopping season has been expanding for awhile. In recent years, the deals reserved for Black Friday and beyond have been showing up earlier in November. And this year, holiday shopping seemed to be in full swing before Halloween. We can thank Amazon for that.
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“Amazon essentially kicked off the holiday shopping season with their Prime Day, moved to October 13 and 14th,” says Zhang. “And that, essentially, is like an unofficial kickoff of this year’s holiday shopping season. Not only Amazon, but several major retailers offered their own deals on exactly the same day or around the same time. And shortly after, many other retailers followed suit. So they started to offer holiday deals or, as they call them, Black Friday deals, or Black Friday-like deals, even before Halloween.”
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