While “Black Friday” has traditionally been the day after Thanksgiving, a new “Black Friday” might emerge this year on the day after Christmas. Armed with billion of dollars in gift cards, and in search of marked-down items, Americans may flood into stores on December 26th. The potential for strong after-holiday shopping is music to retailers’ ears. Wal-Mart and Target says December sales are running below their expectations.
According to the “2003 American Express Retail Index,” one in three shoppers say they will return gifts after the holiday. Meanwhile, gift cards have been a hot item this year and especially for the holiday season. According to a recent research study, 45% of the adult U.S. population purchased a gift card in the previous 12 months versus just 23% in a similar survey conducted in August 2002. The study, commissioned by First Data’s ValueLink unit, also found that 59% of consumers reported purchasing and/or receiving a gift card in the past year, a 22% increase over 2002 findings.