Retailers are pulling out all the stops for Black Friday 2009. But can anyone compete with Wal-Mart?
Until Wednesday, Wal-Mart was siccing its legal team on websites of all types to keep its Black Friday 2009 deals from lighting up cyberspace. At the same time, Radio Shack was e-mailing scanned copies of its "Shack Friday" circular to the news media.
The lesson? Wal-Mart runs the Black Friday show. All others need to hustle to keep up.
But can they?
Many Black Friday watchers are skeptical. Because Wal-Mart maintains lower prices with similar profit margins, the initiative belongs to the Bentonville, Ark.,-based corporation.
"It all depends on how deeply Wal-Mart wants to cut prices. It’s kinda throwing the ball up in the air in terms of Wal-Mart and seeing how it trickles down to the other retailers," says Steven Rogé, portfolio manager at R.W. Rogé & Co., a financial-management firm in Bohemia, N.Y.
There is one retailer that might (at least eventually) take a bite out of Wal-Mart: Amazon.com.
"Black Friday has traditionally been an in-store shopping holiday, but it has also creeped online in a big way as well and merchants have incredible deals online for those people who don’t want to fight the crowds in the stores. This has made a way for Amazon to get into the game," says Luke Knowles, co-founder of Internet coupon distributor Coupon Sherpa.