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On Black Friday, U.S. consumers ready to start their engines Add to ...

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Damn the torpedoes, say U.S. consumers. They aren’t going to let a sluggish economy, a fiscal cliff and an uncertain 2013 get in the way of their holiday cheer – or their holiday spending. Even if it means they may be headed for a cliff of their own.

This Friday, the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, is what is know in retail as “Black Friday” – so named because it serves as the unofficial kick-off of the massive end-of-year holiday shopping season that is supposed to lift retailers’ profit-and-loss ledgers into the black for the full year. The day – and the Thanksgiving four-day weekend itself – have become huge for shopping traffic and sales, as retailers launch the season with high-profile sales aimed at luring consumers and getting them into the swing of holiday buying. It has also become a key indicator of the confidence and spending appetite of U.S. consumers – a critical contributor to U.S. economic well-being.

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