“Franksgiving” And Other Black Friday Facts

FDR tried (twice) to move Thanksgiving ahead by a week for purposes of Consumer SpendingThe day after Thanksgiving is a busy shopping day nationwide and, this year, analysts are paying extra attention to sales figures.

Dubbed “Black Friday” in reference to red ink representing loss and black ink representing gain, today’s start to the Holiday Shopping season is believed to be the day that retailer balance sheets finally cross over to profitability.

But the accounting connotation of the phrase “Black Friday” wasn’t its original usage — it’s a media-coined term.

When the phrase was first used in Philadelphia in 1975, it was in reference to the day after Thanksgiving being the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year.

There’s other Black Friday trivia out there, too:

Did you know? Black Friday is neither the largest, nor the most profitable, shopping day of the year.  Contrary to popular wisdom, it’s the 5th biggest, not the first.  The two weekends before Christmas are usually the “biggest” series of days.
Did you know? In an attempt to spur the economy in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to move Thanksgiving ahead by 7 days.  7 more days of shopping, he thought, would help retailers and help the economy.  Eventually, the idea dubbed “Franksgiving” failed.
Did you know? To protect competitors from price matching “deals”, some retailers copyright their Black Friday advertising.  Others won’t print prices at all.
Did you know? Last year, 14 percent of Black Friday shoppers had made a purchase prior to 4:00 A.M. with an average ticket of $347.

Black Friday is of special significance this year because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economy.  If Americans are shopping in full force, expect economic optimism and a mild rebound in the stock market.  Unfortunately for home buyers, this should also lead mortgage rates higher.

By contrast, if sales figures are weak, expect talk of recession to grow.

Sources
Black Friday (Shopping)
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_%28shopping%29

Geek Trivia: Early bird special
Tech Republic
Jay Garmon, Nov 22, 2005
http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5958978.html

(Image courtesy: Give Congress Back)

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