The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 25, 2013

5 things to know for Black Friday and beyond


Another thing to read carefully are stores’ return policies. They may be tightened up or otherwise different during the holidays, and vary from retailer to retailer.

On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, retailers also have different policies about availability of deeply discounted items. Best Buy and Target note that available quantities for its Black Friday sale items — such as a $499, 55-inch LG television at Best Buy and a $79 Nook tablet at Target — are limited to what’s in-store when the doors open.

Wal-Mart is offering to ship customers 21 of its specially discounted items, such as a 60-inch Vizio television for $688, if they run out during the Thanksgiving Day sale. Customers have to be in line at 6 p.m. to receive the guarantee.

DON’T GIVE THIEVES A HOLIDAY TREAT: Black Friday presents thieves with plenty of opportunities: Homes full of expensive new electronics, and goods and personal items left in cars in crowded mall parking lots. Signal 88 Security is advising shoppers to always keep their purchases locked and out of sight in parking lots.

The security company also said people should avoid leaving boxes out for trash pickup on your curb that advertise new big-ticket items, like a big flat-screen TV. And Signal 88 advises people to write down the serial numbers of expensive items: If they get stolen, that can help police recover the items.

YOU MIGHT SCORE DEALS IF YOU HOLD OUT: Some retailers are already warning their investors that they might have to cut prices to move merchandise this holiday season. Best Buy’s stock took a beating earlier this month when the company warned it might have to discount more steeply to match its competitors.

And retail analysts are predicting that more stores will follow suit. If retailers end up with a lot of unsold merchandise as the end of the holiday season rolls around, they could be forced to start steeply discounting their goods. Think 70-percent-off sales.

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