Black Friday isn’t just on Friday anymore.
The annual holiday mega-retail event began Thanksgiving evening in many stores, and the corresponding deals, continuing through the weekend, are predicted to yield the biggest Black Friday sales in history.
In its annual holiday shopping forecast, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase 3.6 percent — higher than the seven-year average since the Great Recession. The growth is expected to create 690,000 new seasonal jobs as consumers relieved that a nasty presidential campaign is behind them open their wallets, the federation said.
But people aren’t necessarily going to the stores. Shoppers continue to take more and more of their business online.
Adobe Digital Insights said in its annual holiday shopping predictions that it expects sales to go as high as $8.4 billion in three days of online shopping: $2 billion on Thanksgiving Day, $3.05 billion on Black Friday and $3.36 billion on Cyber Monday — which it said would be biggest online shopping day of all time.
The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts, sometimes as much as 85 percent.