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Some Retailers Opting For Family And Time Spent Outdoors This Thanksgiving

By Elyse Desmarais on November 5, 2015

Black Friday

We’re already aware Thanksgiving and Black Friday have become one in the same. With many retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving day, employees and consumers are being drawn away from dinner tables and into stores. While longer sale hours may be welcomed by many consumers, disgruntled employees and negative press in previous years have made some retailers reconsider the morality behind this practice.

Leading Retailers Keeping Thanksgiving Alive

This year, REI announced it will be staying closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, urging employees and shoppers to get outdoors rather than into their stores. The retailer is even going a step further to show a black takeover screen on their website on Black Friday urging visitors to #OptOutside. Other well-known stores resisting peer pressure by vowing to stay closed this Thanksgiving include,

  • Crate and Barrel

  • TJ Maxx

  • Barnes and Noble

  • Bed Bath and Beyond

  • BJ’s

  • Costco

  • Dillards

  • Home Depot

  • Home Goods

  • Jo Ann Fabrics

  • Lowe’s

  • Marshall’s

  • Nordstrom

While these retailers won’t pull employees and customers away from Thanksgiving dinners and family time, they will be open on Black Friday.

Who Will Be Opening Their Doors On Thanksgiving?

Retailers began early Black Friday openings on the Thanksgiving holiday approximately 5 years ago. Since then, retail sales on Thanksgiving day (excluding food, gasoline and automobiles) have been up $52 million from 2009, with last year’s sales totaling $3.2 billion on the holiday.

Some of the biggest names on this year’s list of Thanksgiving day openers are:

  • Best Buy

  • Kohl’s

  • Walmart

  • Target

  • K-mart

  • JCPenney

  • Toys R Us

  • Sears

  • Macy’s

  • Michael’s

  • Big Lots

  • Shoe Carnival

  • Old Navy

Interestingly enough, these retailers may not be bringing in more money than their counterparts who’ve decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving. While there has been more spending on Thanksgiving itself, Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, explains that despite “incremental traffic and sales, it’s simply divided among a larger number of hours.” In other words, retailers extended hours are not generating more sales from consumers, sales are just spread over a larger period of time.

Will REI’s Effort To Remain Closed On Black Friday Change Consumers’ Morals?

Despite REI’s efforts to take the greed out of Black Friday, a recent survey by American Express finds a large amount of American consumers won’t be spending Black Friday outdoors or with family. According to the study,

  • 45% of consumers plan to make a purchase on Black Friday, and

  • 47% of consumers plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday

So for now, it seems REI’s efforts will have a very slow affect in changing consumers’ morals and spending habits. The majority of American consumers will continue to succumb to persuasive retailer advertisements and promotions. The good news for retailers who refuse to open on Thanksgiving day is their sales probably won’t take a hit as Black Friday will mostly likely make up for the Thanksgiving day loss. REI, however, will have to comfort themselves knowing they’ve taken a moral stand and missing out on Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales could, potentially, land them new customers and strengthen their relationships with current customers who share their point of view.

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