Americans are setting their alarm clocks and nailing down their itineraries this week ahead of the biggest shopping day of the year. Enthusiasm for Black Friday is at an eight-year high, according to Accenture Research, with about two-thirds of people planning to shop. But deciding where to go can be difficult. To help, finance website WalletHub surveyed more than 5,500 deals from 22 chains and ranked major stores by how high their discounts are.
At nearly 66 percent, JCPenney had the top average percent discount. Macy's followed, then Rite Aid, Meijer and Sears. Most discounts were focused on clothes and computers. The top stores weren't necessarily the ones with the best individual deals. At the top of U.S. News & World Report's list, for example, is Walmart's deal for a $199 16GB iPad mini, followed by Best Buy's $100 discount on the iPad Air 2.
For shoppers who want clothes, Sears, JCPenney and Macy's are the best bets -- all three had average apparel and accessories discounts higher than 60 percent. Office Depot and OfficeMax had the highest discounts for computers and phones, but Macy's and Staples were the top stores for consumer electronics like MP3 players, TVs and cameras. Kohl's and CVS Pharmacy offered the top sales on toys. Kmart had the highest jewelry discounts.
But experts said to be careful. “When you walk into a store on Black Friday, you can’t have the mind-set that everything you see will be a good deal,” analyst Matthew Ong told NerdWallet. Many 2014 Black Friday deals are the same as they were last year, according to NerdWallet. More than 90 percent of retailers repeated Black Friday prices on products.
This may be because stores weren't seeing enough sales going into the holiday season, retail expert Steve Barr told the Chicago Tribune. Still, the National Retail Federation predicted holiday sales will hit almost $617 million -- an increase of 4 percent from last year. "The 2014 holiday season is shaping up to be the most promotional holiday season on record," Barr said.
Read the full WalletHub report here.