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Black Friday vs. Veterans Day: Comparing the Sales

Nov. 9, 2016
Black Friday, Shopping
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Black Friday isn’t the only big day for shopping in November. Veterans Day also brings sales that offer major discounts — and it happens just two weeks prior.

How do the two shopping periods stack up? We take a closer look so you can decide when to shop.

The shopping holidays

Each year, Veterans Day is on Nov. 11, and this year that happens to be a Friday. While there will certainly be plenty of one-day sales, many will continue through the weekend (Nov. 12-13). Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving. In 2016, the shopping madness happens on Nov. 25.

Of the two shopping days, Black Friday is better known in the world of bargains. It’s been called the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Veterans Day, on the other hand, is a federal holiday. Originally established as Armistice Day in 1919 after World War I, the holiday was later expanded to honor all U.S. veterans.

Because many employees get Veterans Day off, retailers have taken advantage of the opportunity to encourage shopping by offering sales. Veterans Day is sometimes called “early Black Friday” because of its proximity to the larger shopping event at the end of the month.

Top deals for each day

Black Friday bargains

Although the extent of savings varies, almost all retailers, both in store and online, will offer sales on Black Friday. Many retailers will extend their Black Friday sales to Thanksgiving Day or the weekend after Black Friday.

A wide range of products will be marked down, but some of the biggest discounts can be found on limited-time doorbusters, like electronics, DVDs, major appliances and cookware. You’ll also find deals on tools and home décor items.

» MORE: What to buy, and skip, on Black Friday

The sales extend beyond traditional retailers, too. Few businesses escape the lure of Black Friday, so you’ll find deals even at zoos, museums and animal shelters. Still, a few retailers, like REI, will be closed for Black Friday this year in an act of protest.

Veterans Day standouts

When it comes to Veterans Day, the selection is much more limited. You’ll find deals concentrated primarily at department stores and clothing retailers.

Typically, major players with Veterans Day sales include J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Kohl’s. Since the majority of sales are found on clothing, you’ll usually find discounts at places like Belk, Brooks Brothers and Old Navy. Last year, Old Navy offered up to 60% off storewide.

And you may get extra deals if you’re affiliated with the U.S. armed forces. With a nod to the purpose of the holiday, some retailers offer discounts to veterans and active members of the military. Furthermore, restaurants, theme parks and even national parks offer Veterans Day discounts to anyone with a military ID. Businesses offering such discounts have included Applebee’s, Starbucks, Knott’s Berry Farm and SeaWorld.

Sizing up the savings

So, do Veterans Day sales measure up to Black Friday sales? Not exactly, but they do offer a great opportunity to get started on holiday shopping, especially for consumers who have a lot of clothing items on their lists. If you’re a military family, make sure you don’t miss out, since you could get extra discounts on top of the sales.

Rather than an alternative to Black Friday, Veterans Day sales offer a preview of what’s to come — minus the early hours and massive crowds. Take advantage of the sales if you want to get some shopping out of the way before the chaos of the holiday season kicks off.

But for super low prices on the season’s hottest gaming console, hold off until Black Friday.

Updated Nov. 9, 2016.

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