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Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 26, 2006

weekend ‘black' for local retailers

This weekend is an important on e for retailers across the country, and right here in Butler County. Friday was known as &#8220Black Friday,” the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and it earned the moniker because it was often the day that retailers moved their books out of the &#8220red” and into the &#8220black.”

While Black Friday officially starts holiday shopping, it's generally no longer the busiest day of the season – that honor now falls to the last Saturday before Christmas. But stores see Black Friday as setting an important tone to the overall season: what consumers see that day influences where they will shop for the rest of the season.

Last year, total sales dipped 0.9 percent to $8 billion on the Friday after Thanksgiving, dampened by deep discounting, from the year-ago period, according to Shopper Trak RCT Corp., which tracks total sales at more than 45,000 mall-based retail outlets. For the weekend, total sales rose just 0.4 percent to $16.8 billion.

Sales figures aren't available locally, but merchants and community leaders agree that this sales day is very important to the local economy.

Remember, the best way to ensure that we have local retailers with whom to shop is to support those retailers. It's also important to put our tax dollars to work in our own community rather than paving roads, fighting crime or educating children in a city a couple of hours away.

Think about how often local merchants support local causes, giving their time to civic organizations, contributing door prizes, funding special projects. Those things aren't possible without our support.

If you're inclined to shop today, we'll hope you'll do it here in Butler County.

Our community depends upon it.