Thursday, December 25, 2008

The day after Christmas: A second-chance Black Friday

Retailers are having a tough go of it this year. So in an effort to salvage the Christmas selling season, many stores are having big sales the day after Christmas. Some are calling this Friday, a second Black Friday.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, got its name because it was the date historically when many retailers turned a profit or, in accounting lingo, went into the black. But with many retailers still seeing red, stores have decided another round of door-buster deals were in order.
Kohl’s, Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods were among the retailers with newspaper supplements advertising big sales for the day after Christmas this year.
Among electronics retailers, GameStop, RadioShack and Toys “R” Us were trumpeting major sales.
GameStop spotlighted the red-hot category of music video games on the cover of its newspaper supplement. It’s offering bundles for Viacom and EA’s “Rock Band 2” and Activision’s “Guitar Hero: World Tour.” The sets feature guitar, drum and microphone peripherals along with the actual game for wannabe rock stars.
GameStop is charging $169.99 for its “Rock Band 2” bundle for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. That’s $20 off, or 11% less than the regular price of $189.99. The “Guitar Hero: World Tour” band kit for Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii console sells for $189.99.
GameStop obviously is looking for shoppers to cash in gift cards on those pricey sets.
RadioShack and Toys “R” Us are smartly targeting people who just received portable devices, like Apple iPods and Nintendo’s DS game machine. Both are selling accessories on discount.
They are offering deals on MP3 music player accessories such as cases, chargers, earbuds, FM transmitters and speaker docks. Toys “R” Us is advertising sales of camera cases, GPS accessories, and video game software and controllers.
With a nod to the coming digital television transition, RadioShack is promoting digital-to-analog converter boxes.
“Hurry – Just a few short weeks until the switch to 100% digital TV,” the ad says. “If you have an analog TV and use a rooftop antenna or rabbit ears, you must take action before February 17, 2009, to continue receiving TV broadcasts. Visit your local RadioShack now for the latest information and the gear you’ll need.”
RadioShack is selling a converter box for $59.99. With a $40 government coupon available from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the final cost is just $19.99. Visit the TV Converter Box Coupon Program Web site.
Converter box sales have been very important to RadioShack lately.
“The sales generated by converter boxes significantly contributed to our results during the last two quarters and also illustrates RadioShack’s reputation for helping our customers choose the best personal technology solutions that meet their needs,” RadioShack CEO Julian Day said in a statement Oct. 23.
Despite a difficult economic environment, RadioShack’s sales rose 6% to $1.02 billion in the third quarter from the same period a year ago. In the second quarter, sales were up 6% to $995 million.
Those year-over-year sales gains followed seven straight quarters of declining sales.

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