The next time you come across a flyer advertising a Black Friday deal that takes 50 percent off the retail price, you may not want to regard it as a "steal."
Retailers are still making big profits even while slashing prices, according to Vincent Quan, associate professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
There's a science behind holiday markdowns. Retailers adhere to specific formulas set six to nine months in advance, and each discount is closely mapped out to lure consumers into the stores during Black Friday weekend and beyond.
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"Calculate what you pay, not the discount. If something is 40 percent off, you're really paying 60 percent," said Quan. That math suggests there could be a lot more wiggle room for retailers to discount if holiday weekend sales come in soft.