Black Friday 2011: Ready for Black Friday 2011 Madness?

(Bloomberg) — U.S. retailers can expect more consumers for this year’s Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, according to a survey.

About 74 million consumers, or a third, say they’re “definitely” planning to shop during the three days following Thanksgiving on Nov. 24, up from 27 percent last year, according to the survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch. Another 77 million say they’ll weigh the offerings first before deciding whether to venture out.

Chains including Target Corp., Macy’s Inc. and Best Buy Co. have announced plans to open on Thanksgiving to capture holiday sales that the NRF says may rise 2.8 percent this year, or about half of last year’s gain. Retailers dangle doorbusters and other specials on the day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday, to lure shoppers trolling for bargains.

Consumers are still coping with near-record unemployment of 9 percent and a sluggish housing market. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, this week reported profit that trailed analysts’ estimates after holding down prices.

The survey released by Washington-based NRF polled 8,502 consumers from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8.