Shopper madness

Black Friday, the traditional kick off for the holiday season each year, has arrived with huge expectations from retailers and consumers searching for bargains. Jim Hallan, president of the Michigan Retailers Association, says while some retailers depend on holiday sales for 50 percent of their annual business, many are predicting this year to be the best holiday season in three years. However, Hallan says even then success depends on individual retailers and the discounts they can offer. Hallan also says the economy is favoring consumers with significantly low gas prices and heating costs, a low unemployment rate and strong consumer confidence, and those factors should lead to a very positive shopping season this year.