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Black Friday Is Dead. Long Live Black Friday

Black Friday, as U.S. consumers knew it over the past 30 years or more, is just about over.

No, this is not me ranting again about “Black November” (bargains all month), “Black Thanksgiving” (opening stores that evening or that day) or even “Merry Thansgivoween” (from a Detroit Free Press cartoon from Mike Thomson a few years ago, about the rushing of the seasons in the fall).

Years ago the only people who knew what the arcane reference “Black Friday” meant were Wall Street financial analysts, suppliers involved in retail gift-giving categories and their dealers, and the comparatively few compared with today who watched weekly stock investment shows or Fortune and Forbes magazines.

This concerns two stories I just saw this morning. The first was on CNBC, by way of the Huffington Post saying that Walmart would begin its “Black Friday” sales on Friday, Nov. 22, a week early.

That’s fine and typical of what has been going on this year. But, teamed with another story I read today, if true, may prove to be the beginning of the demise of the whole phenomenon.

Again, the Huffington Post ran a story from an operation called NerdWallet saying that of the 25 retailers that it studied, 23 had at least one product for sale at the same price as last year.

Does having sales all during November and into December, plus if NerdWallet is correct and real deals are not available, mean that Black Friday crowds won’t appear this year?

Of course not, since for many shopping for Christmas, right after sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner or the next morning, is a tradition. And traditions still die hard in this country. Most consumers still begin holiday shopping in earnest after Thanksgiving, advanced planning be damned.

But, if this keeps up, over time the sales volume “Black Friday” – the actual 24 hour day ever year – will diminish.

In the CE and major appliance business does that mean that suppliers and retailers will be celebrating that day’s demise since they always dreaded it?

I don’t think so. Now, and in the future, they are going to have to look over their collective shoulders to worry about the entire month of November, including Thanksgiving, and into December to make sure they are not getting beaten on special holiday deals.

Black Friday is dead. Long live Black Friday.