Black Friday 2013 is quickly turning into gray-area Thursday, with some retailers opting to open on the once off-limits Thanksgiving Day holiday and others choosing to remain closed. According to the International Business Times, a number of chains have announced they will open for the first time ever at 8 p.m. this Thanksgiving Day. Stores that have already made public their Thursday plans include Macy’s, Toys R Us and Target. With more and more stores opening earlier, Thanksgiving Day has become quite the dilemma for stores as they toe the line between staying competitive and pleasing those who want the holiday reserved for family, feasting and football.
Why on Black Friday 2013
For a number of years, retailers have been slowly moving from the traditional 6:00 a.m. Black Friday openings to midnight on Thanksgiving night. While some people have voiced dismay that the earlier shopping free-for-all was infringing on Thanksgiving Day family dinners, many others have greeted the earlier openings with open arms and equally open wallets. For one thing, not everyone has the day off on Black Friday, but almost everyone has Thanksgiving off (except, of course, for those working in retail stores). Opening stores on Thursday nights will allow these people time to shop and to get the same bargains that Black Friday consumers were traditionally able to enjoy.
In addition, many other shoppers prefer an 8 p.m. start to staying up for the midnight openings, which often meant that customers were running from store to store until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. With an 8 p.m. start, eager shoppers will be able to enjoy three to four hours of prime shopping time before heading off to bed.
Retailers Lose Sales When They Don’t Open
For retailers, not opening on Thanksgiving Day means losing potential sales. For example, Women’s Wear Daily reported that Macy’s executives were dismayed in 2012 to learn that shoppers in New York City were seen checking out their closed stores and then moving on to their competitors that were open. The department store chain is hoping that by opening at 8 p.m. this year, Macy’s sales figures will increase over last year’s earnings.
In Reality, Not a Big Change
Though it may seem as if these earlier store openings have changed the way consumers shop during the Thanksgiving holiday, the truth is that a large number of eager beavers have pushed themselves quickly away from the dinner table in order to be first in line at sales that actually didn’t start till 6:00 in the morning. Television crews often spotlighted lines of these people sleeping outside of stores hoping to secure an awesome “doorbuster” deal. Even those who weren’t lining up for these elusive door-busters were often shopping online. So by opening at 8 p.m., many stores feel as if they are actually giving consumers exactly what they’ve wanted all along.
In addition, the 2013 holiday shopping season is six days shorter than in 2012. By starting the holiday shopping season on Thursday, retailers are actually giving consumers a little more time to shop during this compressed holiday season.
About the Author: Melinda Melton loves the holidays. She created her Black Friday plan of attack months ago.