Mexico's Retailers Welcome Shoppers Over Bargain Weekend

Throughout Mexico, shoppers filled malls and department stores in hopes of snatching up deep discounts and pre-holiday savings. If that sounds like the Mexican version of Black Friday, it is. Shop owners and economists alike are hoping consumers spend big and give Mexico's sagging economy a much needed end-of-the-year boost.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Mexico, they're celebrating Revolution Day today. And throughout the long weekend, Mexican shoppers have been filling malls and department stores in hopes of snatching up deep discounts and pre-holiday savings. If that sounds like the Mexican version of Black Friday, it is. There, it's called Buen Fin, or Good Weekend. And shop owners are hoping consumers spend big and give Mexico's sagging economy a much needed end-of-the year boost.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: The TV commercials have been non-stop.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV AD)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

KAHN: Just like this national furniture store's ad says, the bargains this past weekend through today are the best of the year. There's even extended free one-year financing offers too.

This is the third year major retailers in Mexico, from Wal-Mart to OfficeMax have joined to promote Buen Fin. Similar to the day after Thanksgiving, it runs through the Revolution Day holiday, which falls on the third weekend of November.

Hopes are especially high this year for more than just a Buen Fin, retailers need a super one. Mexico's economy has nearly ground to halt. Growth estimates dropped to less than 1 percent for the year, making it the worst economic performance since the 2009 recession.

The government is so worried about the bad economy it put up $19 million in prizes to entice more Buen Fin shopping, and handed out the usual year end cash bonuses for federal employees instead on Friday.

Despite all the deals and fanfare, consumer protection groups are warning shoppers to beware. Robberies and credit card thefts spike by as much as 40 percent during the Buen Fin weekend.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

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