As the busiest retail weekend of the year begins late Thursday night, the differences between how affluent and more ordinary Americans shop in the uncertain economy will be on unusually vivid display.
Budget-minded shoppers will be racing for bargains at ever-earlier hours while the rich mostly will not be bothering to leave home.
Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Target will start their Black Friday sales earlier than ever — at 9 and 10 p.m. in some instances — with dirt-cheap offers intended to secure their customers’ limited dollars. A half a day later, on Friday morning, higher-end stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom will open with only a sprinkling of special sales…
Low- and middle-income shoppers “are the folks that are really getting squeezed — in the third quarter of this year, real incomes actually declined and the savings rate declined,” he said. Yet he expects their spending to remain steady, even if they have to pull money from savings or charge items to credit cards. The economy, he said, “will affect lower-income shoppers in how they shop, not how much they buy — I think they will hone in on the discounts.”