If you love Black Friday bargains, but hate the idea of pre-dawn lines, surly shoppers, and the risk of bodily harm just to score a bargain Blu-ray player or Xbox console, major U.S. retailers have an alternative: Why not shop early? Some pre-Black Friday sales start Saturday, Nov. 7. Start brewing the coffee now.
The early sales from JCPenney, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart are designed to drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores and retail websites–and possibly entice consumers to start their holiday shopping a little early. Some big box retailers, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, offered pre-Black Friday loss-leaders last year too.
If you’d rather not leave the house, Kmart’s “Better than Black Friday” online extravaganza kicked off today, and runs every Friday through Nov. 20.
” ‘Black Friday’ has become a buzzword. People associate it with really good deals,” says Michael Brim, founder and president of BFAds, a site that sends subscribers email messages about Black Friday bargains.
At a typical pre-Black Friday sale, such as Sears’ “Black Friday Now” event that starts Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 a.m., retailers trot out “maybe two or three Black Friday store-busters,” Brim says.
This year’s best tech bargain? According to BFAds, Wal-Mart is effectively selling an Xbox 360 Arcade console for just $100. While the advertised price is $199, the retailer is giving away a $100 gift card with each Xbox 360 Arcade purchase. “Consoles have a minimum advertised price,” says Brim. “Retailers can’t advertise anything lower than that.”
Other pre-Black Friday tech bargains (courtesy BFAds) include:
HP 15.6″ Laptop w/ 2.2GHz Processor (G60-W519WM) – $298 (Wal-Mart)
Zenith 42″ 720p Plasma HDTV – $499.99 (Sears)
Sylvania 32″ 720p LCD HDTV – $349.99 (Kmart)
Sharp 42″ 1080p LCD TV (LC42SB45UT) – $498 (Wal-Mart)
If you try to land these bargains, remember to wear protective gear–and don’t forget your stun gun.