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Entertainment, Sports Licensed Goods Lead Black Friday Deals

Hot holiday properties Frozen and Star Wars, and collegiate and NFL licensed merchandise, will be decking the halls of many retailers on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Some of the nation’s largest retailers over the past week moved to control the flow of information about their Black Friday promotions by “leaking” their own Thanksgiving weekend ad circulars well in advance of the holiday. While stores once unveiled the deals with hefty circulars in ad-laden Thanksgiving day newspapers, that practice has become somewhat of a relic as shopping Web sites built their business around early publication of leaked ads and the retailers themselves expanded shopping hours to Thanksgiving day. In addition, Black Friday has lost its distinction of being the heaviest shopping day of the season, which in recent years has often gone to a weekend day closer to Christmas.

While retailers including Costco, The Home Depot, Ikea, Sam’s Club and Nordstrom (which will not even put up its holiday decorations until Friday) will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day and start sales Friday, a majority of mass merchants and department stores will be open for at least part of the actual holiday, with many opening in the evening, despite some consumer backlash.

Last week, Target, Walmart and others began publishing their Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales prices, including discounts on a wide array of licensed merchandise. Many of the sales will begin before shoppers have a chance to digest their turkey, with shoppers able to grab licensed good based on Frozen, Star Wars, Paw Patrol, Minions and Thomas the Tank Engine as well as collegiate and NFL licensed merchandise at many stores.

A sampling of Black Friday deals on licensed merchandise includes:

•   Target’s buy one –get one for 50% off deals, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, include an exclusive Star Wars Hero Series action figure set; Minecraft collection pack and TMNT Battle Shell figures. Other heft discounts will be offered on Minions, WWE, Avengers and Paw Patrol action figures; Paw Patrol and Star Wars pajamas; Star Wars and Frozen luggage; and a Huffy Frozen sleigh bike.

•   At deadline, Kmart had not published its Black Friday promotions, but consumers will be able to shop deals from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Kmart’s flyer of Thanksgiving deals includes Frozen and Star Wars plush pillows and hooded towels (both $8.99; regularly $12.99); Star Wars and Avengers action figures ($4.99; regularly $12.99 to $14.99); and a Frozen Quad ride-on for $59.99 (discounted from $99.99).

•   Sears, which will open for Black Friday at 6 pm on Thanksgiving, also will use Star Wars as a featured Black Friday property. It will offer Star Wars clothing at a 60% discount, in addition to discounts on Star Wars bedding and accessories. Juvy plush pillows in Star Wars, Frozen and Minions designs will be $8.99 (regular price $19.99). Other licensed brand deals at Sears include 40% off NFL team sports apparel and discounts of more than 50% on its Outdoor Life brand men’s apparel.

•   Toys R Us will make its Black Friday steals available beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, with half off featured items including: Paw Patrol Rescue Training Center and Paw Patrol Little Artist Tabletop; Thomas the Tank Engine toys from Fisher-Price and Trackmaster; Star Wars, Frozen, Minions and Paw Patrol art sets; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plush; Minions Movie Deluxe mini figure set; and Star Wars and Marvel play sets.

•   Regional department store chain Bon-Ton’s 72 page circular offers 50% discounts on Mattel and Fisher-Price toys including Disney and Thomas the Tank Engine licensed items, and a host of college and professional sports licensed merchandise, including NFL team apparel from G-III at 50% off; collegiate fleece from Champion and J.America at $19.99 (regular price $50-$55); and collegiate and pro football licensed Crock-Pot slow cookers for $39.97 (regular price $75).

•   Walmart Stores will open for Black Friday at 6 pm on Thanksgiving and will offer Black Friday prices all day on Thanksgiving. Two sample pages of the circular released briefly by Walmart on Nov. 11 showed big discounts on licensed sports video games FIFA ’16, NBA2K16 and Madden ’16, which will be offered at $27 each (regular price $59.88).

Despite consumer grumbling about the commercialization of holidays, a new poll from NPD Group and CivicScience identified something they hate even more: Crowds, which topped a new survey of the “Top 5 Things People Hate Most about Holiday Shopping”. Nevertheless, traditional deep discounts are sure to keep stores crowded on Black Friday, and possibly on Thanksgiving night as well.

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