That's what retailers across the country were thinking Thursday after the sector collectively fell on its face -- everyone from Wal-Mart to Neiman Marcus fell below their May sales estimates.
But today's the day I feel sorry for the retail world, because today's the day the pain really sets in. Thursday, no doubt, retail execs and their deputies spent most of the day in closed-door meetings, discussing what went wrong in a big-picture sense and doing damage control with their investors and the media. Today, though, is the day everybody else -- sales teams, fashion buyers, marketing coordinators -- gets theirs.
If they could have seen this day coming, perhaps they would have thought ahead, nicknamed it Bleak Friday, and cobbled together some clever marketing and blowout discounts to help them recuperate (then again, if they could have seen it coming, I guess they would have just adjusted their projections). But no matter. Since everyone who works in retail today is likely cowering at their desks, regretting those Thursday night drinks that dehydrated instead of de-stressed them, faking phone calls and intense computer-screen concentration in hopes that their bosses don't grind to a halt by their cubes -- I'll play the role of retail rallier today.
Below is a roundup of the best sales you'll find online and in your local malls this weekend. So go ahead and do your part to save all those scared-stiff retail employees out there. The weather's going to be nasty anyway.
GAP and BANANA REPUBLIC
In Gap stores and online, all dresses are 25% off for three days only. And most of them are already marked down. At sister store Banana, all dresses are $98 or less through June 7.
It's great time to upgrade linens at Bloomie's -- through June 7, buy one bed or bath item on sale and get the second 50% off. Plus -- yeah -- just about everything else is on sale too.
The upscale department store has wasted no time trying to recover from its poor performance. Tons of top designers are going for 30 to 50% off right now -- and it's offering free shipping for purchases at any price.
AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS
Stock up for the kids -- all men's and women's shorts are on sale, and tees and flip flops are buy one, get one 50% off.
Friday and Saturday, all appliances, from sleek Whirlpool fridges to cheery Kenmore frontload washer-dryers, are 15% off. And all GPS systems are marked down.
All swimwear -- including its usually-pricey slimming styles -- is marked down by as much as 50% through June 8.
Penney's opted to call its markdowns "Appreciation Sale!" instead of the "We're Screwed Blowout!" -- but the discounts are just as desperately awesome. There are doorbuster deals for in-store shoppers and up to 60% off merchandise online.
Talk about a Bleak Friday