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Black Friday personal shopping

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Dad gets a sweater and Mom would like a handbag. Grandma might need...wait a minute! That coat is exactly what you have been looking for and it's got a great sale price. No harm done if that happens to be one of your Black Friday purchases; or is that the kind of shopping that puts your holiday budget into a downward spiral?

A lot of consumers use sales to buy items they want. Marshal Cohen, chief analyst of the research firm The NPD Group, says 20 percent of sale shoppers will buy for themselves. In the early 2000s, just five percent of holiday shoppers took home a personal purchase.  Cohen says the early-bird holiday shoppers are often the ones looking for the sales for themselves, while the transactions made closer to Christmas are more likely to be gifts for family or friends. 

How do shoppers justify this personal shopping? Cohen says people feel less guilty because the items are on sale.

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