Black Friday sneak peek offered online

October 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Retailers are trying something new to lure shoppers this holiday season. They're offering a sneak peek of the deals in store for the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, a month in advance. What might be great for consumers could backfire on retailers.

The sale signs are up, but they're not necessarily luring in the customers. Research shows consumers will spend less this holiday.

"It is a lot lower budget because of the economy," said Irene Quibelan, of San Jose.

However, what is catching consumers' attention is a Black Friday sneak preview. Several websites are already listing the items that'll be on sale the day after Thanksgiving, at Sears, Toys 'R Us and Ace Hardware.

"This is by far the earliest I have ever seen Black Friday ads out," said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist.

According to yarrow, it's a strategy retailers hope will pull them out of the red.

"I think retailers are absolutely in a panic about making sure consumers know their products and consider them first," said Yarrow.

Irene Quibelan from San Jose is a regular at Toys 'R Us.

"I do have two kids, this Bakugan thing is a big thing for my kids," said Quibelan.

Come November 28th, it'll be on sale.

"It is pretty helpful because it gets you to figure out your budget a little better see what you're getting into," said Quibelan.

"Dora sparkle princess doll is $12.99, that's cheap!" said Nancy Carlos, from Santa Clara.

While the preview is creating consumer excitement, the plan could back fire on retailers because revealing sale prices early creates competition.

"It's a gamble and in a lot of ways, the retailers are competing do heavily with each other. It's a cost war in a way," said Yarrow.

And that could drive down sale prices even more to the point where stores could end up losing the profit they thought they'd gain this holiday season.