Countering The Lure Of Black Friday Along The Border

By Mónica Ortiz Uribe
November 21, 2011

EL PASO, Texas -- Mexican retailers are hosting their own version of Black Friday ahead of the United States.

El Buen Fin” (an abbreviated Spanish phrase for “good weekend") kicked off Nov. 18 and goes through Nov. 21, which is a holiday in Mexico. The four-day national event is meant to boost the Mexican economy.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, organizers of El Buen Fin hope to stem the flow of shoppers north to American stores.

The Mexican National Association of Chambers of Commerce reported that sales over the weekend jumped by about 30 percent. Across Mexico, thousands of local businesses participated, in addition to national chains such as Walmart, Liverpool and Sanborn's. Retailers reported the most popular items included electronics, appliances, clothing and shoes.

Photo by Mónica Ortiz Uribe
Customer Rosa Maria Reynoso (left) shops for soaps at a mall in Ciudad Juárez during "El Buen Fin". Shop owner Ofelia Gomez (right) makes the soaps locally.

In the border city of Juárez, El Buen Fin kicked off at a downtown mall with the local chamber of commerce President Alejandro Seade Terrazas. The goal was clear.

“We hope that this campaign will halt the flight of Mexican shoppers to the United States,” he said. “We want to show that we too can be competitive.”

American border cities benefit from Mexican shoppers who cross over during the holidays. Tijuana shoppers spent up to $101 million dollars in San Diego in 2010, according to the business research firm Cross Borders Group.

Juárez resident Carlos Montellano was shopping for shoes with his granddaughter at a mall in the Mexican border city. He thinks El Buen Fin is an excellent idea.

“We are going to shop all weekend in Mexico,” he said.