Some of the fanfare that has traditionally accompanied Black Friday, the official start of the holiday shopping season, has worn off in recent years, as more and more retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving. But today, Saturday and Monday still feature prominently for businesses and shoppers alike.
Today, of course, stores offer many special sales designed to lure in shoppers. And traditionalists who didn't want to cut short their Thanksgiving day celebrations will be out in force scouring businesses for deals.
The day following Black Friday has become known as Small Business Saturday in recent years. Local merchants across the region offer a variety of deals for shoppers. Shopping at your Main Street small business is a good way to help your local economy and the business owners who play such a huge role in their community.
Comptroller Peter Franchot last week launched an effort to promote shopping locally called "Shop Maryland For The Holidays."
In a press release, Patrick Donoho, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, said, "Retailers are a vital part of the communities throughout Maryland and they truly appreciate the support from those communities during this holiday season."
Cyber Monday comes on Monday. In recent years, this has become the big day for online retailers. Each year, more and more shoppers go online for their purchases, wishing to avoid the crowds at the stores or just finding it a more convenient way to complete their holiday shopping lists. It's important to note that while a lot of the traffic is going to big name retailers, your local businesses likely also have a website where you can get merchandise or gift certificates as well.
The shopping season is a little more compressed this year, with Thanksgiving not arriving until Nov. 28. That means people have less time to find just the right gift. But between the big store offerings of Black Friday, the local merchant deals for Small Business Saturday and the online specials offered Cyber Monday, shoppers should have no problem filling out their holiday lists again this year.
The National Retail Federation is predicting that holiday shopping sales will increase 3.9 percent over last year, rising to an estimated $602.1 billion.