Friday, November 29, 2013

”Black Friday” Catches on in Latin America

Though Thanksgiving is not a typical holiday in Latin America, numerous retailers in the region have adopted the ”Black Friday” custom of enticing shoppers by offering them items at very low prices.

Retailers in several Central American countries, for example, have chosen this weekend to offer discounts of up to 70% off in their stores and the Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce is anticipating some $12 million in sales between today and Sunday. 

Businesses in Mexico offered deeply discounted items on sale between November 15 and 18, which was dubbed locally as “The Good Weekend” (“El Buen Fin”).  According to the country’s National Chamber of Commerce, approximately $13.2 million in sales were made in Mexico during the event and this was a better-than-expected 20% increase compared to the same period last year.

Aside from department stores have slashing prices today, a few Colombian shopping malls have organized events like fashion shows and concerts hosted by popular comedians as ways to lure consumers.

In El Salvador and Panama, thousands of consumers camped outside of stores on Thursday evening in order to be among the first to enter the stores at the early morning hours today.  This was also the case in Puerto Rico where the Friday after Thanksgiving is nicknamed “The Saels to the Early Birds” (“Las Ventas al Madrugador”).

The appeal of “Black Friday” also attracted thousands of Mexicans to wait on lengthy lines in order to cross the border and shop at U.S. stores.
The wait is worth it.  I saw a doll in a Mexicali store and it cost 520 pesos ($39.65) but in Calexico the same one is being sold at half-price,” said Baja California resident Raquel Mendívil.  “I’m returning to the store hoping the doll is so discounted that they’re practically giving it away for free!” he jokingly added.

Unfortunately, some of the problems related to “Black Friday” in the U.S. have also occurred in Latin America.  For example:

  • Crowds at several Puerto Rican megastores became unruly such as a Wal-Mart in Mayaguez where there was reportedly a stampede of shoppers trying to enter the store as it opened.
  • Since Thursday night a complaint has been made every twenty seconds on the website of Brazil’s consumer protection agency denouncing “Black Fraud” scams.
  • Shoplifting allegedly skyrocketed by a whopping 100% in Mexican businesses during the days “The Good Weekend” was observed.
  • Massive traffic jams developed throughout the Costa Rican capital of San Jose and especially near major shopping centers.
Though “Black Friday” is not usually observed in Venezuela, long queues have formed outside of stores after President Nicolás Maduro issued several decrees this month as part of his “economic offensive.” 

Businesses have been obligated to slash the prices of items like electronics, furniture and clothes by as much as 50% or risk closure and arrest.

Video Source– YouTube via user telenoticias11 (Dominican shoppers flocked to electronic stores and malls on “Black Friday”).

Online Sources – Too many to list!

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