Thanksgiving Day. In the U.S. it’s a holiday focused on giving thanks for the blessings and good fortune each has experienced during the previous year - a holiday filled with family, food and, for many, football. The day after Thanksgiving has been long recognized as the official start of the holiday shopping season, or Black Friday. And, since 2005, Black Friday has officially held the honor of being the busiest shopping day of the year.
Over the years, retailers have continued to push the limit on Black Friday store openings to generate maximum sales volume and revenues. Traditional opening times of 9 and 10am were moved long ago to earlier hours like 5 and 6am, and more recently large ‘big box’ retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others have even opened at 12am. Last year, Wal-Mart did what was historically the unthinkable and opened their stores on Thanksgiving Day. And, this year, more retailers are joining in on opening Thanksgiving Day including Target, JC Penney, Sears, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, Old Navy, Kmart and even Apple. And, with the NRF predicting that holiday shoppers will spend 3.9 percent more than they did in 2012, I’d expect additional retailers to follow suit.
But, it’s not music to everyone’s ears. What’s next - shopping on Christmas Day? There’s no denying that retailers must compete for the consumer dollar, especially with a shortened holiday season this year (27 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared to 33 in 2012), but when is it too much. What about the families who’s loved ones will be working Thanksgiving Day? Sure, they will be well paid, but has it all become about the all mighty dollar?
I applaud retailers like Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Nordstrom’s for standing strong – at least this year – and remaining closed on Thanksgiving. I know we only have 27 days this year, but with online shopping growth continuing and a massive uptick predicted for CyberMonday activity, I think we have all we need.