Retailers try and rush the season every year, but Kmart is taking it to a new extreme, introducing "Early Black Friday" sales beginning this weekend. In moving Black Friday up from its traditional date the day after Thanksgiving to Nov. 2, some 26 days early, Kmart hopes to combat a dismal economy and slumping consumer spending.
Exclusive to home electronics
The retailer, part of Sears Holdings, said it will offer the deals exclusively in the home-electronics category to help customers kick-start their holiday shopping. The category has become an area of particular concern for retailers, as consumers pull back on discretionary items. Earlier this month, MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse service reported that spending on consumer electronics and home appliances dropped 13.8% in September, following a 5.5% drop in August.
"Home electronics are relevant items customers will be looking for," said Tom Aiello, divisional VP-public relations at Sears Holdings. "It's those really super-deep discounted items that are really motivating that you would never see all year round."
"Early Black Friday" sales on about 15 items will roll out in Sunday circulars between Nov. 2 and Nov. 23, as well as on Kmart.com. The deals are being worked into existing circular plans and will not garner additional advertising or promotional spending on the part of the marketer. Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB, Chicago, is Kmart's creative agency; MPG buys its media.
Mr. Aiello said the new initiative is based on consumer feedback. Kmart stores are already reporting that consumers have started shopping for holiday gifts as they attempt to spread out their spending and avoid using credit, he added.
"It all comes back to what the consumer was asking for," he said, noting that the effort has always been a part of marketing plans. "When we were doing planning earlier in the year, the economy was already showing signs of where we are at today."
Kmart's deals are also meant to make holiday shopping more convenient, Mr. Aiello said. Unlike typical Black Friday sales, which require an early wake-up call and heavily promoted limited quantities, the specials will be available for an entire week, with ample supplies in stock.