November 29, 2013

Black Friday blues: Retailers ramp up the competition

With a narrower-than-usual holiday shopping window, several major chains have lowered expectations on profits.

From staff and news services

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Shoppers wait outside Target in South Portland before the store opened early on Black Friday in 2010. Target, Walmart and Kohl’s are among more than two dozen major chains that have lowered their profit outlooks.

2010 Press Herald file photo/Derek Davis

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Nine of Bull Moose’s locations will be open from 6 a.m. through midnight on Black Friday. Two stores will be opening earlier: in Scarborough at 12:01 a.m. and in Waterville at 4 a.m.

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

Efforts are also underway in Maine to refocus consumer shopping habits on buying local and supporting small businesses.

“We definitely have seen it grow,” Picard said. “We’ve had more and more people talking about it and overall awareness has really taken off. Branding that (Saturday after Thanksgiving) as Small Business Saturday has really been effective.”

What started in 2010 as a marketing campaign by American Express has now been embraced even by stores that don’t accept the charge card and by shoppers who use other forms of payment, Picard said.

According to a 2012 study by American Express, 67 percent of shoppers were aware of Small Business Saturday and 47 percent of those surveyed actually shopped “small” on that day.

Last year, shoppers spent an estimated $5.5 billion in the “small business” movement, according to an estimate by American Express.

A Portland-based campaign called “Buoy Local” encourages shoppers to purchase a gift card that can be redeemed at several locally owned businesses.

And a campaign called “Plaid Friday” encourages people to think about spending their dollars at local stores. The movement is national but has contingents in Bangor and Portland.

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