The Origins of "Black Friday"

Posted by DaveM49 7 years, 1 month ago to Economics
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Long before "Black Friday" became known for mobs killing each other in attempts to get the last marked-down TV, it was used by merchants. It reflected the fact that holiday sales beginning around Thanksgiving often marked the point at which a retailer was "in the black"--that is, showing a profit for the year.

I don't know how far back the phrase goes. But think about it: what sort of business climate exists when sellers do not show a profit for the year until the end of November? What percentage of their sales occur during the remaining 1/12th of the year I do not know, but that seems like a mighty slim profit margin.

If you were starting a business, how eager would you be to make the capital investment and effort if you knew that for the vast majority of the year, you would be running at a loss? I would not be interested. Mind, I presume that this situation is the result of artificial ("government") regulation, taxation, etc. I can only wonder how many capable people have looked at the economics of retail and built a career elsewhere. With that sort of profit margin, there is little wonder why "big box stores" are increasingly all that thrives.

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  • Posted by $ Susanne 7 years, 1 month ago
    I remember references to it back in the 70's... tho it was NEVER the hullabulloo that people make of it now... When you have people eating "Dinner" at 10 AM so they can get some rest before "Hitting it hard" at 6 PM Thanksgiving evening to "beat the crowds and get the sales" (most of which, if you look, aren't that big a deal), IMO it's a marketing ploy to boost sales and push businesses into the black, or determine if they will close their doors at the end of the year.
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