Around-The-Clock Deals Star This Holiday Season

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This year, competition for those holiday shopping dollars has retailers going to new lengths to try to reel in customers. Host Scott Simon talks with David Friedman, senior vice president of marketing for the Sears Holdings Corporation.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This year, competition for those holiday shopping dollars has retailers going to new lengths to try to reel in customers. Wal-Mart started offering free online shipping without a minimum purchase requirement. More stores opened in the wee hours of the morning yesterday. And for the first time in its 124 year history, Sears was open on Thanksgiving Day.

We continue our look at Black Friday with David Friedman. He's the senior vice president of marketing for the Sears Holdings Corporation, which includes Sears and K-Mart stores. He joins us from member station WBEZ in Chicago. Thanks so much for being with us.

Mr. DAVID FRIEDMAN (Senior Vice President of Marketing, Sears Holdings Corporation): Oh, my pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: Sears was open from 7:00 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving. Is that symbolism or a real sales strategy?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: No, it's a real strategy. For a couple of years, our customers have been telling us that Black Friday isn't everybody's cup of tea and that they've been looking for opportunities to get that same kind of savings at other times during the year. And so we've added some Black Friday pricing throughout the month of November. And then the decision to open on Thanksgiving was just another opportunity to give some of our customers the opportunity to get great deals without having to brave the crowds at four a.m. on Black Friday.

SIMON: Near as you can tell, did it work? Did you get a good turnout on Thanksgiving?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: Yeah, we were happy to see the customers that came in. They really responded to a number of the products that we had on sale, especially a lot of interest in electronics and home appliances.

SIMON: Did you find it hard to get people to work those hours?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: Oh, we found that actually, contrary to that, many of our associates who are challenged by the economic times, much like everybody else, were excited to find the opportunity to get a few more hours in during the holiday season at the holiday pay.

SIMON: How is Sears doing overall, Mr. Friedman, in this economic climate?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: The economic climate has been a challenge for every retailer, and that's not a surprising conclusion. I mean, we've had our challenges over the past couple of years as well, but we feel very good about what we have planned both for this holiday season and going into 2011 to help make sure that Sears is one of the retailers that succeeds as we hopefully emerge from this economic doldrums over the course of the next year.

SIMON: David Friedman, senior vice president of marketing for the Sears Holding Corporation, speaking with us from Chicago. Thanks so much.

Mr. FRIEDMAN: Great. Thanks, Scott.

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