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Sunday, October 28, 2007

absolute ludacy

anyone in the consumer good business knows the importance of black friday, or the day after thanksgiving.  This is when most mass retailers start their Christmas promotions.  Everyone in the industry guesses how much value key retailers will be offering.  Too many value might cut into margins and prevent the retailers from hitting its year-end profit target.   Too little discount could prevent the topline sales and result in lower than expected profit and increased year-end inventory.
Over the past few years, Black Friday has become an event in and of itself.   Consumers look forward to Black Friday and even make it a tradition to get up at 4 in the morning to go to the store with the best values.  As a result, lots of websites first and tv stations second have begun to closely follow the ads, especially for the extreme value.  Often, these ads are "leaked" weeks ahead of Black Friday to insure that the stores receive the right amount of pre-Friday hype.  In fact, there are multiple websites solely dedicated to covering the ads.
However, just a few weeks ago, Wal-Mart sent a notice to all of these websites asking them to remove their black friday ads and threatening legal action if they don't.   Is Wal-mart really that naive to belief that by shutting down a few websites noone will know their black friday ad prices.  and even if they do, is this a good thing?   Black friday ads are printed up at least a month in advance and no one would be able to react even if they did know competitor prices in advance.  Additional wal-mart is constantly monitoring pricing and would do any additional rollback or Save Even More if key product failed to move.

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