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The Hidden Costs of Black Friday

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Everybody loves a bargain, and the chance to kick off the holiday shopping season with savings has made Black Friday one of the busiest days of the year for retailers.

According to a Black Friday shopping survey conducted for the National Retail Federation, up to 152 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend, up from the 138 million people who planned to do so last year. According to the survey, 74 million people say they will definitely hit the stores and another 77 million are waiting to see if the early bird bargains are worth braving the cold and the crowds.

In total, Americans will spend an average of $831 on gifts this holiday season, according to a recent American Express (AXP - Get Report) Spending & Saving Tracker report. A large percentage of that spending will kick into high gear on Black Friday. (According to NRF, close to $45 billion was spent by Black Friday shoppers last year.)

There is a lot of money out there being spent and reaped, and it all may seem win-win: Shoppers get great deals and retailers expedite their end-of-year sales. It isn't so clear-cut, however, and there are ways the blitzkrieg of Black Friday can cost all involved, eroding savings and profits alike.

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