The growing trend of moving the start of the holiday shopping season (Black Friday) back a day to Thanksgiving, has hit a roadblock – shoppers apparently don’t care for it.
This year some major retailers are responding to negative publicity and decreasing Black Friday sales numbers by saying they won’t be open Thanksgiving because that’s a day that’s meant for the family.
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Closing On Thanksgiving
CBL & Associates Properties Inc. (NYSE:CBLC), owner (or major stakeholder) in 89 malls and shopping centers said it would close most of its properties Thanksgiving Day, reopening at 6 a.m. Black Friday. CBL’s announcement came a week after Mall of America said it would close on Thanksgiving after 4 years of being open on the holiday.
Other major retailers electing to be closed this year include Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COSTB) and The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HDB). They are joined by the likes of Apple Inc. Stock not found APPL, Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKSC), Burlington Stores Inc. (NYSE:BURLC), DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSWA), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWNC), The TJX Cos. (NYSE:TJXC) and others.
About Publicity …
Among the reasons many stores are electing to stay closed on Thanksgiving, is the fact that there has been more and more negative publicity about the push to start Black Friday on Thanksgiving Thursday.
Some of it came from employees and their families, upset that they were losing part of a national holiday to work (although in many instances working on Thanksgiving was optional). Oddly, customers also reacted negatively feeling pressure to go shopping on the holiday in order to take advantage of special sales.
… And Profit
To add fuel to the fire, retailers have noted that the added revenue they expected by enlarging the shopping window simply hasn’t been there.
ShopperTrak reports that Black Friday sales fell 12% in 2015 compared to 2014. Considering the entire 4-day weekend (Thanksgiving Day through Sunday), sales at brick-and-mortar retailers fell 10.4% to $20.4 billion last year.
A New Shopping King Is Crowned
The net result of trying to expand Black Friday, according to RetailNext, has been a dilution with Friday, Dec. 23, expected to be the new biggest shopping day of the year, dropping Black Friday down to the number 3 slot, after that date and Super Saturday, Dec. 17.
Thanksgiving Day won’t even be in the top 10. In fact, the balance of the top 10 biggest shopping days this year will all be in December, after Black Friday.
All About Combating e-Commerce
The point of juicing up Black Friday in the first place was to combat the rise of e-commerce sites like Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZND) and the growing popularity of Cyber Monday, which last year resulted in Americans spending more than $3 billion online. This represents a 16% increase from the previous year.
While many retailers are backing off and closing on Thanksgiving, others will continue to try to gain additional sales and strip customers from online retailers by staying open. They include: Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBYA), Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE:KSSC), Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:MC), Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLDD), Target Corp. (NYSE:TGTB) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMTC).