The question: Black Friday or the Saturday just before Christmas? These two dates are "the busiest shopping days of the year" every year.
For 2004, retailers are only halfway there, but the anecdotal evidence says it will be a hard total to beat. In South Lansing, for example, the Meijer store estimates they beat last year's totals by six or seven percent. That's even higher than the National Retailers Federations prediction of a 4.5 percent sales increase this year.
Managers and customers at stores like Meijer and Target sing the same tune. Bargains bring in the big numbers. Customers come out early for sales, and stores like Sam's Club that didn't offer deals miss out in the early morning hours. Manager Joel Carman says it doesn't last long. They feel the trickledown effects of a holiday shopping season kickoff beginning in the afternoon on Friday and continuing into the weekend.