New Study Highlights Which Stores Have the Best Black Friday Discounts

If the blasts of cold weather and snow in parts of the country weren’t a clear indication that the holiday season was well on its way, this week marks the official kickoff of the retail bonanza as so-called Black Friday arrives. Despite several retailers getting an even earlier jump on things this time around, millions of Americans will still be hitting the malls on Thursday or Friday in search of deals. To help them out, the free credit score site WalletHub has compiled several pieces of data to determine which stores will have the best Black Friday discounts this year.

Coming in first for 2018 is Belk, offering an average discount of 68.9%. Surging from an average of 62.8% last year, the department store chain managed to overtake last year’s winner JCPenney, which still saw a second place finish with 65.1%. Rounding out the top five are Stage (62.1%), Kohls (60.8%), and New York & Company (54.5%). Meanwhile the smallest discounts among those stores studied are hardware stores True Value (16.3%) and Ace Hardware (21.9%), outdoor shop Gander Outdoors (18%), the Walmart-owned warehouse membership chain Sam’s Club (22.3%), and discount store Big Lots (22.9%).

So how did WalletHub arrive at these averages? As the site explains, “In order to determine the retailers offering the most money-saving bargains this coming Black Friday, WalletHub surveyed nearly 7,000 deals from 35 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2018 Black Friday ad scans and calculated the average discount that each retailer plans to offer. The average discount was weighted based on the prediscounted price of the item in order to give more credit to the retailers discounting higher-ticket items.” They also note that the sample excludes any “deals” without calculable percentage markdowns.

In terms of what types of items retailers are discounting the most this Black Friday, the top answer is “jewelry.” With an average discount of 68%, this category easily bested the runner-up “apparel and accessories” at 47%. If you’re searching for jewelry this season, the just-filed-for-bankruptcy store Sears was found to have the best average discounts (78.83%) followed by Stage (74.30%) and Kohls (72.69%). As for apparel and accessories, WalletHub says you’ll want to head to Meijer where the average discount on such items is 63.84%. If there are none of those in your area, you can also try JCPenney (62.99%), Belk (61.86)%, Stage (59.65%), or New York & Company (54.52%).

Other popular discounted items this year include video games, furniture, and consumer packaged goods with average discounts of 43%, 42%, and 40% respectively. For video games, Best Buy (47.03%), Walmart (46.26%), and Target (45.46%) were found to have the best average discounts while JCPenney (72.37%) had the best furniture discounts, followed distantly by Shopko (60.34%) and Fred Meyer (52.78%).  Finally, for consumer packaged goods, JCPenney (58.15%), Staples (56.06%), and Belk (44.06%) came out on top.

Something to keep in mind is that, while some of these discounts might sound great, they may also be limited. Because of this it’s always a good idea to research which items you want ahead of time and what stores will offer the best deal on them. Also don’t be fooled by impressive-looking discounts that, in reality, are only slightly lower than normal. Lastly don’t forget to take advantage of cashback tools like Ebates to help you save even more. Whether you start your “Black Friday” shopping now, on Thursday, or on the titular Friday, be sure to shop smart, stay on budget, and have yourself a merry little retail holiday.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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