Holiday Shopping? Black Friday Is Not the Best Day

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- How does Wednesday, Dec. 4 sound for a day to get your holiday shopping done?

A new report by ShopperTrak, a leading provider of shopper analytics, says Dec. 4 is the best day to do in-store holiday shopping this year.

While popular holiday shopping days include Black Friday as well as the Saturday before Christmas and increasingly Thanksgiving, ShopperTrak notes that the best days to shop are actually the weekdays immediately following "Black Weekend" because there are smaller crowds and staff has the ability to be more attentive to shoppers as opposed to the more frenzied shopping days.

With four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year compared to five weekends in 2012, ShopperTrak identified 10 days likely to have the least amount of in-store holiday shopper traffic and, given their proximity to Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a good selection of merchandise likely will remain in the stores for retailers working to capture those sales.

ShopperTrak predicts that Wednesday, Dec. 4, will be the best day to shop this holiday season with the least amount of store shopper traffic, followed by Monday, Dec. 2 and Tuesday, Dec. 3. The next three best days forecasted by ShopperTrak were Wednesday, Dec. 11, Monday, Dec. 9 and Tuesday, Dec. 10. Then came Friday, Dec. 6, Friday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 12, followed by Monday, Dec. 16 as the top 10 days to shop this year.

"There's a reason Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas attract the heaviest crowds -- retailers flood consumers with discounts and special offers on those days," says Bill Martin, ShopperTrak's founder and executive vice president. "But quieter shopping days also present their fair share of deals for consumers, along with more attentive customer service and a leisurely shopping experience."

Retailers across the board from Sears ( SHLD) and Macy's ( M) to Best Buy ( BBY) have been extending their holiday shopping hours by opening on Thanksgiving.

Best Buy released its Black Friday ad on Tuesday. Customers can get a Roku 2 Streaming Player for $59.99 (savings of $20), Xbox 360 250GB Black Friday Bundle for $189.99 (savings of $110) or Apple iPad Air at $449.99 (savings of $50). See the store's Web site for more Black Friday deals .

Wal-Mart ( WMT) announced its Black Friday promotions on Tuesday, saying the events will kick off even earlier on Thanksgiving, starting at 6 p.m.

Wal-Mart is boosting its number of one-hour guaranteed items sevenfold, it says. It will have more "Manager Specials" and more hot deals on the season's top gifts.

"Black Friday is our day -- our Super Bowl -- and we're ready to prove once again that no one does it better than Walmart," said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations "We're excited to give our customers an incredible Black Friday with shopping hours that will allow them to take advantage of great prices on Thanksgiving night and all weekend long."

Wal-Mart says that employees who work on Thanksgiving Day will receive a 25% discount on an entire purchase this holiday season.

Last year, the company introduced the "One-Hour Guarantee," a Black Friday event that guaranteed customers select items during a one-hour period. The retailer is bringing it back this year and expanding from the three items offered last year to 21 One-Hour Guarantee items this year.

Wal-Mart will hold two One-Hour Guarantee events, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. or between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time on Thursday, Nov. 28.

Merchandise included in the 6 p.m. One-Hour Guarantee include: Apple ( AAPL) iPad mini Wi-Fi 16GB for $299 with a $100 Walmart gift card; Furby Boom! for $29 (savings of $30); Assassins Creed, NBA 2K14, Batman, Grand Theft Auto V for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 at $34 each (savings of $25.96), the company says.

Customers can purchase Beats by Dre Solo Headphones for $114.95 (savings of $85), Straight Talk Galaxy Centura prepaid phone for $29 (savings of $70.88) or an RCA 7" Dual Core Tablet for $49.

The company will be using wristbands for some of the season's hottest items, like the new Sony PS4 and MicrosoftXbox One.

Additionally the company will be extending its Black Friday deals with "Manager's Specials." Throughout the store from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, Wal-Mart will drop prices on entire categories and brands that are most in demand for holiday, the company says.

Of course Wal-Mart is looking to take share from Amazon ( AMZN) by promoting its online shopping availability on Walmart.com. The company says that starting early on Thanksgiving morning, customers can shop the Web site for select Black Friday deals that will also be available in stores as well as hundreds of online specials.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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