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A reverse trend? Retailers opt to stay closed on Thanksgiving

Posted November 23, 2015

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— Retail experts are calling it a reverse trend. A number of stores including REI, Nordstrom, Marshalls and Costo decided to scrap the tradition to start Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving.

"I think that's a good idea." said shopper David Wicker. "Thanksgiving should be with your family."

But while retailers are hoping to curry some goodwill among shoppers for staying shuttered on the holiday, they are also focused on the bottom line.

According to the National Retail Federation, last year shoppers spent six percent less than the year before during the four-day Thanksgiving shopping weekend, despite stores opening earlier than ever.

"I work in a store, and I also want the day off," said Debra Alford. "I don't have the day off. I've got to work as well."

Earlier this month, Target announced it will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the same time as last year. Target and rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began opening on Thanksgiving three years ago to better compete with online retailers and other competitors.

Other companies that have already announced plans to open on Thanksgiving include toy seller Toys R Us and department store chains Macy Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp.

But as more people spend Thanksgiving hooked to their smartphones, fewer feel the need to leave their house to shop. Analysts predict online shopping will grow an additional 6 to 8 percent this year as deals start earlier in the week.

"I think you are seeing retailers start already at the beginning of the week and going through Tuesday or Wednesday, kicking off for the rest of the weekend," said Andy Ellen, president of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association.

Malls across the Triangle will be open on Thanksgiving. Crabtree Valley Mall and Triangle Town Center, in Raleigh, Cary Towne Center and The Streets at Southpoint, in Durham, will open at 6 p.m. Thursday, however not all stores will be required to open. Old Navy at Crabtree Valley Mall will open at 4 p.m. and Best Buy will open at 5 p.m. On Friday, mall hours begin at 6 a.m.

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  • Lynn Brearley Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    They won't have mine, even if you don't have a big family thanksgiving is a time for pause and reflection at the very least. For those like my husband, an opportunity to be off his hard working feet for a while and a breather. I was always told as a child that all Americans thought about was money. It's not, but these retailers fit that slot! Enjoy, relax and talk, catch up and enjoy the spirit of love, not the gloat of having acquired some 'trophy' gift, must have item this year whatever it is. Enjoy!

  • Kristin Byrne Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    This is capitalism at work. There is a demand for a service, so retail stores are providing that service. Stores wouldn't open on Thanksgiving if there weren't people willing to go out shopping. I don't blame the stores at all. Of course it's all about the bottom dollar. That's the point of running a successful business. I blame greedy consumers who put material items above spending time with family.

    I don't even go shopping on Black Friday. There's nothing I "need" that badly to go out and fight the crowds. I can find great deals from the comforts of my own home.

    I do feel bad for those who have to work in these retail stores on Thanksgiving because they're not essential service personnel, but I also feel bad for those who have to work to make sure we stay safe (doctors, nurses, EMTs, police officers, etc).

    I don't think this is a reversal of the trend. I think stores opening on Thanksgiving is here to stay. Too many people show up to go shopping.

  • Tom Laurence Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    As a child, the ONLY stores I remember being open were local "Seven-Elevens" or similar stores where you could run in and buy quick items like bread and milk that you may have forgotten for the holidays. I wish for those days again. I will continue to enjoy the holidays with family and friends...... remembering the real meaning of each holiday. Just saying.... Happy Thanksgiving to all !

  • Mike Hill Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    While we are at why do we not scrap the whole materialistic concept of giving presents to celebrate the birth of Christ. If you extrapolate the teachings of the bible at its word, the only "presents," we should be giving are to the church and less fortunate. Does anyone else's stomach turn when they see the Lexus commercial?

    I would just love to see the retailers squirm if we all sat one Christmas out.

  • Michael Strickland Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    I have decided to try to do my Christmas shopping only at retailers who close on Thanksgiving. There may be something that I can't get from that group of stores but I will try mightily.

  • Chase Truman Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    Can anyone tell me if Christmas Tree lots are usually open on Thanksgiving? I would like to start a new "family" tradition of buying a tree on Thanksgiving night after we eat.

  • cdurham Nov 24, 2015

    Glad to hear that this crazy idea is dying. I doubt if retailers made this decision out of the goodness of their hearts though. No doubt, sales didn't increase as they had hoped.

  • Ernest Borgnine Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    In the United States you work until you die. That sounds harsh, but think about it for a moment. Your ability to sit on the couch and watch football on Thanksgiving is paid for by the services of others. I for one am thankful for all the cops, fire prevention and medical personnel that work through the holidays to keep us alive. I am also thankful for all of the military folks that keep us safe. And really, isn't that the point of Thanksgiving--to be thankful?

  • Real Libertine Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    If a retailer opens on Thanksgiving, then they don't want my custom.

  • Martha Matthews Nov 24, 2015
    user avatar

    Reversing a trend they themselves started does not gain them credibility. And they are still doing it for their bottom line, not because they care about their employees, who would have to work on Thanksgiving.