Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving
Day in the United States, which is the beginning of the traditional
Christmas shopping season. The term dates back to at least 1966,
although its usage was primarily on the East coast. The term has become
more common in other parts of the country since 2000. Because
Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United
States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.
According to Reuters, in 2007 135 million people participated in the
Black Friday shopping rush.
Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many
employees have the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday (with the
exceptions of those employed in retailing, health care, and banking),
which increases the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often
decorate for the Christmas and holiday season weeks beforehand. Many
retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically
opening at 5AM or even earlier. Some of the larger retailers (depending
on the location) such as Sears, Best Buy, Macy's, Toys "R" Us, and
Walmart have been reported to open as early as midnight on the start of
Black Friday in localized areas and remain open for 24 hours throughout
the day until midnight the following Saturday. Upon opening, retailers
offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores.
Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has
served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least
since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924,
the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1960s.
The term "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia
in reference to the heavy traffic on that day . More recently, merchants and the media have used
it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go
from being in the red to being in the black