Keeping a Lid on Black Friday Sales Information

Black Friday is near. The day after Thanksgiving is very critical for retailers as the Christmas selling season moves into high gear. It is called Black Friday because historically it marks the time of year that retailers move into the "black" of profitability for the year. A major part of a retailer's Black Friday success is tied to its sales and other promotions designed to generate store traffic. Wal-Mart, like other retailers, spends heavily to promote Black Friday. The retail giant differs from other retailers in its policing of information about its Black Friday promotions.

Web sites such as,, and Black Friday 2007 give consumers information about retailers' sales on Black Friday. These web sites post information sometimes about sales that have not been released to the public. The informaiton is obtained from a retailer's employees or an employee of a printer producing the promotional materials, or some other unauthorized source that has access to information about a promotion. Wal-Mart has communicated with some of the more prominent Black Friday web sites that it should cease and desist from posting information about Wal-Mart ads before they are released.

Wal-Mart is trying to protect its confidential marketing decisions for as long as possible. While the company will not score any points for its brand image by unleashing its legal department on Black Friday web sites, the efforts to suppress the information almost seem futile. Retailers can react and adapt to competitive actions faster than ever thanks to the availability of the Web as a communication channel and a platform for selling products. If competitors and consumers find out about Wal-Mart's Black Friday promotion plans a few days early, little can be done to derail a competitor at that point. Product orders for the Christmas season are placed months ahead of time. The major marketing decisions for the holiday season are in place, and advance information about a short-term promotion is unlikely to be a determining factor in a retailer's success for the Christmas season. Link