Nov 27, 2008

Business - Apple gears up for Black Friday sale

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc, facing a tight U.S. consumer spending environment, is gearing up for a one-day sale on Friday and at least one analyst expects the company to offer discounts of up to 15 percent.

The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the traditional kickoff to the U.S. holiday shopping season and one of the biggest buying days of the year for consumers.

The outlook for the computer and consumer electronics industry is universally grim, with shoppers widely expected to cut back on purchases as a recession looms.

An announcement on Apple's website said the online store is holding a "one-day-only holiday shopping event. You'll find dozens of great iPod, iPhone, and Mac gift ideas."

An Apple spokesman declined to provide details.

Apple products are typically more expensive than those of competitors, and it doesn't offer price reductions very often.

Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note that he expects Apple's Black Friday promotions to be "a little more aggressive than usual."

Wu expects Mac computers, iPod digital media players and accessories to be discounted up to 15 percent, but said it was unclear whether the iPhone would also be on sale. In years past, Apple has cut prices by 5 percent to 10 percent.

Retailers, including Best Buy Co Inc and Inc, are already discounting Apple products. The Best Buy website is currently offering $100 to $150 off certain MacBook laptops.

Wu also said many Apple stores are electing to match the price discounts of resellers.

Apple shares rose 2.7 percent to $93.23 on Tuesday, in line with other technology issues on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)