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Black Monday…Tuesday …Wednesday

As we all have read in the last week or so, the world of retailing is beginning to turn around a bit. But it’s just a bit, and that bit is comped against one of the worst years in the last several decades in the history of retailing.

To ensure that this trend will continue, many of the major players in home jumped the Black Friday syndrome with highly ballyhooed pre-Black Friday sales. These events have been more a multi-times a week, several hours a day events than is typical. And looking at the pricing and the scope of the merchandise offered so far, it’s difficult to envision what the pricing structure will be at the end of this week.

The major players in the pre-Black Friday activity have been Macy’s and JCPenney in the print media, with Target and Walmart not far behind. Regional department stores like Boscov’s have been super active as well. Surprisingly, Sam’s Club has included some home textiles items in its holiday entertaining circulars. Sears and Kmart have been sporadic participants in frequency of promotion, though the company headlined its Nov. 14 circular “Don’t wait, Black Friday doorbusters now!”

Looking at some of the specific products featured, Penney highlighted The Classic Towel at $3.88 for its Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 “doorbuster sale,” which was repeated in the Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 “huge sale” event.

In another repeat, the entire stock of made-to-measure blinds, shades, draperies, top treatments, bedding and accessories was featured it its “last chance for deepest discounts” event that ran from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14 at 50% off plus an extra 35% off. But the same merchandise was headlined in the Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 circular at 65% off plus an additional 10% off.

Macy’s used both run-of-press and circulars to push its pricing agility. Among its many promotional features were “The Biggest One Day Sale” with home textiles including the department store’s Hotel Collection sheets at $79.99; “lowest price” on Martha Stewart Collection towels at $7.99; Hotel Collection Microcotton towels at $14.99; and any size set of Martha Stewart flannel sheets at 60% off.

In a Get Ready pre-holiday sale circular, the retailer highlighted among other items Stay Bright towels at $6.99; Charter Club pima cotton towels at $9.99; and Charter Club Basic sheets at $19.99 for a twin set.

With these few examples of what has come before, this Friday should be a day to remember in retailing’s history book.

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