Best Buy Breaks the Black Friday Barrier, Home Depot Right Behind

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Once upon a time, Black Friday promotions were actually held… on Black Friday.

Then, in an effort to one-up the competition, big box discounters began breaking their doorbuster deals a day earlier, on Thanksgiving, once considered a sacrosanct family holiday.

Soon, Black Friday sales events would stretch forward to Cyber Monday and back to the beginning of the month, creating what industry pundits now call “Black November.” Still, retailers held the line at Nov. 1, waiting until their Halloween merchandise cleared out before teasing the holiday sales to come.

This year, like so much else, that formula has changed. Following a brief flurry of sales specials this month timed to Amazon’s delayed Prime Day promotion, the first volley of Black Friday deals has been fired by Best Buy, days in advance of All Hallows’ Eve.

Given the dearth of appliance inventory, the chain’s first round of holiday sales, ending on Nov. 1, is light on white goods, focusing instead on countertop appliances, floor care products and the usual gaggle of TVs, computers and accessories. And while select discounts will be available now through Cyber Monday, Best Buy has issued a promotional calendar of weekly sales events, culminating in nearly all of its Black Friday offers going live on Nov. 22.

Other box stores are keeping their powder dry until after Election Day. Walmart, for one, is staggering its Black Friday deals with three separate waves, starting Nov. 4, resuming Nov. 11 and concluding Nov. 25.

The Home Depot will follow both retailers on Nov. 8 when it’s just released “Black Friday, Improved” circular goes into effect through Dec. 2. The home improvement chain promises up to 40 percent off select appliances, 12-month financing on purchases of $299 or more, free delivery, and graduating discounts on two or more appliance buys.

Unlike Best Buy, and despite supply constraints, purported appliance deals abound on five of the 36 pages, beginning with the front cover. There, two “Special Buys” are spotlighted: LG’s 26.2-cubic foot stainless steel French door smart refrigerator (Model LFXS26973S), reduced from $2,449 to $1,798 for a savings of $651. Also heralded on page one is a 4.5-cubic foot washer (Model WA45T3400AV) and companion electric dryer from Samsung (Model DVE45T34DDV), both in black stainless finish, for $578 each, down from $899 per item.

No indication is given as to when shoppers could expect delivery.

The Home Depot circular can be previewed through the company’s mobile app, or on the holiday ad site BestBlackFriday.com.

BrandSource, in this week’s series of region call-ins, advised members to focus on availability in their holiday marketing rather than price, where, despite delivery delays, the group still maintains a significant advantage over all others.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.