Some economists expect retailers to be pleased with the amount of shoppers out Friday. That's after a few disappointing Black Fridays in recent years.
Diane Swonk thinks the term Black Friday is outdated. "I think it should be crowned Red Tag Friday," she said. Swonk is chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. She said Black Friday is now more of a season as opposed to just one day. She expects long lines Friday and retail sales to be the best they've been in four years. But, "When you've lowered the bar so low, it's easy to clear the hurdle," she said.
Swonk says sales of high end items, like jewelry, dipped during the recession but those are expected to rebound nicely this year.
Meantime, the Chicago Police Department is stepping up patrols downtown Friday. Officers are trying to crack down on pickpocketing around the city's major shopping areas on Michigan Avenue and State Street. Police Commander Ken Angarone said subways and stores with a high amount of foot traffic are prime targets for pickpocketers.
"Any time you have crowds, that's an opportunity for increased criminal activity. Where a criminal feels that he can become anonymous in a crowd, that's a prime opportunity."
Angarone said shoppers should keep their purses in front of them when walking in crowded areas.