Skip to main content

Let’s get ready to rumble


Target managed to stay above the Black Friday fray in year’s past, but that isn’t the case this year, as it and virtually every other retailer vie for their share of what is expected to be a small pie. In a move to match Walmart and other retailers, Target is opening its stores at 5 a.m., an hour earlier than last year and several hours earlier than just a few years ago when the company didn’t open until 7 a.m. This year, no retailer has the luxury of sleeping in on Black Friday or risk putting any barriers in the way of consumers who it is expected will be spending at or below the prior year’s depressed levels.

Accordingly, Target is sweetening its Black Friday value proposition by offering a $10 gift card to those who spend more than $100 before noon and it is also extending store hours to close at midnight the two weeks prior to Christmas. To alleviate concerns about Black Friday crowds and post holiday returns, Target is promoting the fact that its average checkout time of less than a minute is faster than some retailers’ self checkouts. The company has also tweaked it return policy, which could be an invitation to trouble, but in a challenging market apparently is a necessary evil. Beyond the company’s standard 90-day policy for returns or exchanges accompanied by a receipt, customers can now return or exchange up to $70 in merchandise without a receipt on a rolling 12-month cycle. New and unused items over the $70 can be exchanged for items in the same department.

Even the company’s longstanding policy of keeping the media at arms length is being softened this holiday season in hopes of generating some favorable publicity. The company is actually inviting media into its stores to shoot footage or take photos simply by asking for the leader on duty, Target parlance for what other retailers might call an assistant manager.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds