Sales markdowns begin for the 2017 holiday season

Filing for bankruptcy is hard. Starting Thursday, June 1, customers of retailers such as Radioshack and Ace Hardware can file for protection under Chapter 11 in hopes of selling their stores and hoping to survive without disruption. Those lucky enough to avoid going into bankruptcy can start salivating about the next step: Black Friday deals.

They’re starting to trickle in. Appliance-maker Electrolux, for instance, recently posted online an Aug. 11, 2017 to Nov. 28, 2017 “Early Black Friday Sale” on its home appliance section.

For now, it’s not a set of extended markdowns but limited-time discounts and sales on selected products.

So it’s important to note that the definition of “early Black Friday sale” is just as subjective as the sale dates themselves. Consumer electronics manufacturer Emerson also posted early Black Friday deals on selected products on Thursday.

One company that’s been planning ahead is Simba, maker of healthy, affordable mattresses.

“It’s generally known as Black Friday but doesn’t necessarily mean that’s when consumers get their deals,” the firm says in a press release. Simba’s lineup this Black Friday is “lean” — in other words, staying under the $1,000 mark.

“It’s more of a general price point,” says Ed Arnold, vice president of product marketing for the company.

Even in its early marketing, Simba has its eye on competitors and trends on how consumers shop.

“The demand for products is the biggest thing I’ve seen in consumer tech in two years,” says Arnold.

Simba’s strategy is to offer at least a double take. The company has more than 200 products to choose from.

There’s also no physical store at this point — the company runs its own e-commerce site and has a retail operation in Chicago — so if you’re interested in its products and want to pre-order, you can do so ahead of time via text message to 615724. (If you want to skip the texting and do it in person, the Simba website has store locators for most metropolitan areas.)

“This has been a big, big year for us,” Arnold says.

Interest appears to be high.

The company’s goal was to offer more than 100,000 mattress beds and also help people “feel well for better sleep,” but the company also considered the wider view.

In March, Simba opened a chapter at the Science Fiction Writers of America in New York, in part to offer an ideal sleeping space as a “therapeutic escape for traveling authors,” according to the non-profit.

There’s no doubt that consumers are ready for sleep deals, but there are still a lot of concerns.

A recent survey by mattress maker Emma found that many people still fear that they won’t sleep. From the respondents were: “more than half” said they were afraid they won’t sleep well while six in 10 said they were afraid they won’t sleep at all or they’ll fall asleep all the time.

More than half of the respondents said they were concerned they would end up sleep deprived because of her bed. And there was concern that they would have sore bodies by Christmas after long travel and long nights of sleep deprivation.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of consistent and regular sleep,” said Karen Douglen, Emma’s vice president of global relations.

“We remain committed to addressing concerns that have come up with our sleep value proposition,” she said.

It’s worth noting that Emma is a bed company with its sleep value proposition. Emma tries to integrate healthy sleep practices that can help people sleep better. It’s a line of mattresses featuring pain-relieving qualities including hydrating foam, wide-supporting cushioning and a slim leg panel. And Emma offers sleep physiology research.

Emma’s tactics might be working. The firm sold 300,000 mattresses last year and, thanks to rising sales, is on track to sell 500,000 in 2017.

Cheap mattresses often cause negative sales. Why buy when you can save money on a mattress? That’s certainly the thinking of some consumers.

A recent Bankrate survey found that 34% of people would rather buy a smartwatch and fitness band over a mattress, but more men (39%) than women (33%) would rather get a mattress deal than a fitness tracker deal.

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