Black Friday Sales: Will Shoppers Bite?

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The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, known as "Black Friday." But this year, economic experts predict stores could see disappointing sales.

As a result, retailers are rolling out big ads and even bigger discounts this season in hopes of attracting more consumers.

"Retailers realize that low prices will get consumers into stores this holiday season, and this could be the most heavily promoted Black Friday in history," National Retail Federation Chief Executive Tracy Mullin said.

Lower gas prices may have given a boost in consumer confidence this month, but overall opinion of the economy remains gloomy. That outlook is affecting retailers.

"(There's) an overall fear because I'm saving for a later date," Chicago shopper Brandi Smith said.

In November, sales got off to a slow start after stores reported their worst October sales in almost 40 years.

Now, most shoppers like Kathia Ward, are digging deep for a good deal. She's turned to smaller stores, hoping to find more discounts.

"When you've got about 30 kids at Christmas time...I've got about seven families. I want all the bargains I can get," Ward said.

The NRF estimates up to 128 million people will hit stores this Friday and through the weekend. But that's nearly 10 million less than last year.

Another 79 million say they will likely wait out the sales and will only make a purchase if the price seems right. Shoppers also admit they will likely buy less expensive gifts this year.

In the past, Black Friday has accounted for up to 40 percent of retailer's annual sales. It's name comes from the idea that the busy shopping day puts store balance sheets back "in the black."

Sources: Associated Press, CNN Money, Reuters, ABC

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