Why Black Friday 2012 is giving shoppers and stores an extra gift

Black Friday falls falls early in the calendar this year, which means retailers have more opportunity to make sales and shoppers have more time to do last-minute shopping.

Alex Slitz/Daily News/AP
Tonya Thomas makes her way through the aisles at Best Buy while shopping for Black Friday deals in Bowling Green, Ky.

Shoppers: for those who cannot get out for Black Friday, don’t despair.

Holiday shopping is going to go on and on and on.

Because Thanksgiving – and hence Black Friday – is early, there are still 32 days left before Christmas, just about the maximum. And, almost equally as important, there is a Saturday three days before the Big Day so procrastinators can still wait until the last minute without having to break out into a complete sweat.

“This will definitely help me,” says Dallas Crilley, a 20 year old in Denton, Texas, who has historically waited to buy his gifts. “It means I have a little bit of time.”

In Haymarket, Va., the extra days will also help Christine Cannon, who has 20 nieces and nephews plus four of her own children. “I work full time,” says Ms. Cannon, a publicist. “So, it will help to have some extra time for shipping purposes.”

And, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., working mom Shelby Schneider, with four young children, says the extra days are a real luxury. “The more time I have to prepare, the better off I am,” she says. “It gives me extra time to shop at our local retailers.”

The retailers are happy to have the extra time as well. It gives them extra time to offer promotions to get shoppers in their doors.

That is exactly what Christopher Rankin, president of Christian Caine, a jewelry retailer in Shepherdstown, W. Va., is planning. He has mailed out “no strings attached” $100 gift cards to his top 500 clients. “If there was a shorter amount of time, then there is not enough time and if you send them too early, they don’t get used,” says Mr. Rankin. “This year you can actually do these things.”

Online retailers say the extra time will help them since it gives consumers more time to look for gifts on their computers.

“The extra time helps me run more specials on my site,” says Mohsin Momin, cofounder of BenjiFrank.com, which sells designer glasses for $100 and donates part of the proceeds to help provide glasses to people who can’t afford eyewear. “It gives us more exposure, more hours and more time to advertise.”

Having the extra weekend before Christmas is particularly useful to Roger Goldsmith, who runs Crafters Gallery, a gift store, gallery, and frame shop in Saratoga Springs.

“In the case of custom framing, you can’t walk in and wait for something to get framed while you wait,” he explains. “So you can come in on the Thursday before Christmas and still have it back on Monday.”

This is not to say that retailers will not be trying their best to attract all the shoppers they can on Black Friday.

In Plano, Texas, Three Dog Bakery will try to lure shoppers with 20 percent off some of its all-natural, human quality treats for pets. “We hope to get some of the spillover from the big stores,” says Josh Derby, the director of operations.

On Friday, Mr. Derby posted news of the sale on the company’s Facebook page by telling consumers he was “throwing them a bone.”

Looking further down the month, Derby has already mapped out a strategy of offering some specials early in December. And then in the days before Christmas, he will offer another bone. “I just don’t want them to forget me,” he says.

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