Major appliances have never been a traditional holiday gift category, and as such have always taken a back seat to electronics, apparel and home fashions in the pantheon of Black Friday promotions.
All that began to change last year when Sears offered an Electrolux front-load laundry pair for $600 the morning after Thanksgiving. This year, following one of the most challenging periods in recent white-goods memory, appliance offers came fast and furious on Black Friday, rivaling CE doorbusters in the severity of the sales.
Apparently the ploy was effective: According to comparison shopping service PriceGrabber.com, sales of laundry pairs, one of the most heavily discounted categories of the holiday weekend, rose 70 percent on Black Friday compared with 2008.
One of the biggest majap blowouts was mounted by The Home Depot, which offered deep discounts on LG and Whirlpool's Amana- and Maytag-branded products. Holiday specials included the high-efficiency Maytag Bravos 4.7-cubic-foot top-load washer and companion dryer for $499 each, down from $799 and $699, respectively, and a 19.7-cubic-foot LG French-door refrigerator, in white, for $798, down from $1,199.
Whirlpool was also front-and-center at Lowe's on Black Friday, where $998 bought a 4-cubic-foot Duet front-load or Cabrio high-efficiency 4.7-cubic-foot top-load laundry pair, and $898 fetched a 25-cubic-foot French-door fridge in black or white (regularly $1,298).
A similarly configured Whirlpool fridge was $888 at hhgregg (after a $50 rebate), as was a slightly larger-capacity Duet washer and companion dryer (after a $100 rebate).
New York metro area appliance titan P.C. Richard & Son was equally aggressive, offering $1,000 Samsung and Whirlpool front-load laundry pairs, both with 4-cubic-foot washers, and a 3.1-cubic-foot front-load Frigidaire washer and companion dryer for just $500.
But the day still belonged to Sears, which leveraged its private-label Kenmore brand to follow up last year's Black Friday offering with a 3.5-cubic-foot front-load laundry pair for $580, a 23-cubic-foot French door fridge for $750, and a 4.7-cubic-foot high-efficiency Kenmore Elite Oasis laundry pair for $850. All were advertised as 50 percent or more off from Sears' regular prices, but shoppers were warned that inventory was limited to only about two SKUs per model per store.