Black Friday is starting to get a little gray around the temples.
From early morning "door buster" promotions to stores "leaking" Black Friday deals before the actual day, retailers have sought to whip up as much excitement as they can on what is the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. And now this: Such retailers as Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart are opening their doors at midnight on Black Friday or even on Thanksgiving night.
Experts and even some retailers admit that the tactics don't really boost sales and profits the way television footage and newspaper photos of mobs bursting through doors suggest they do. The over-the-top retail frenzy is more defensive in nature: Stores need to open earlier, cut prices deeper, scream promotions louder because they don't want to lose sales to rivals.
"If this was a real day for engagement and sales, then why the [heck] are you opening up earlier and earlier?" said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a consumer research firm based in New York.
Retailers, experts say, are running out of tricks to wow tech-savvy, hardened consumers who only want to grab a $200 laptop and a bargain-priced flat-screen television and nothing else. And in their zest to up the ante, retailers seem to be alienating some shoppers unhappy at the prospect of trudging to a Target or Best Buy on Thanksgiving night instead of early Friday morning.