As more and more retailers unveil plans to open Thanksgiving Day, it’s being dubbed Black Thursday and has the potential to fire up sales — and stir controversy.
NPD chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen said that only 12 percent of consumers take advantage of Black Friday sales, and he estimates that half that number will shop on Black Thursday. “But it’s a very healthy consumer base,” he said. “The early bird gets the proverbial worm. Retailers are saying, ‘I want your wallet when your wallet’s full.’”
Stores that opened earlier last year saw sales increase by 22 percent for the Black Friday weekend. “Last year, you had some stores that lost 8 percent if they didn’t extend hours,” Cohen said. “They missed out.”
Target on Monday became the latest retailer to say it will open on Thanksgiving — at 9 p.m. — remaining open through 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. on Black Friday. The retailer joins Wal-Mart, which is opening at 8 p.m. Thursday, two hours earlier than last year. Sears, which was closed on Thanksgiving 2011, will open from 8 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday, while Kmart’s holiday schedule is 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, to give people time to eat their meals, reopening at 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Black Friday. For the first time, Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue flagship in New York will operate on Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Gap Inc. brands will be open long hours on turkey day: Gap will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Banana Republic, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Old Navy, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“Every brand is determined to compete,” a Gap Inc. spokeswoman said. “We deliver a value proposition and shopping experience. We’re very optimistic.”
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