J.C. Penney to Open Thanksgiving Night

The retailer is the latest to move up its opening hours on the holiday, revealing plans to open many of its stores at 8 p.m.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is the latest retailer to move up its Thanksgiving Day opening hours, revealing plans to open many of its stores at 8 p.m.

This story first appeared in the October 21, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The retailer will remain open through 9 p.m. on Black Friday. Most of its 1,100 stores will open. The ones that won’t are due to some states having “blue laws” in place where retailers can’t open on a holiday, according to a Penney’s spokeswoman.

In opening on Thanksgiving Day, Penney’s joins Macys’s Inc., which said a week ago that 750 of its 800 stores will also open at 8 p.m., breaking the tradition of keeping closed on the holiday.

“J.C. Penney is pulling out all the stops to be competitive this holiday season,” the company said.

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According to Penney’s, “Our associates are supportive of this decision because we all want J.C. Penney to win during this important holiday shopping period.”

The company has plans to keep the associates’ morale and energy levels up while they work to keep customers engaged during the shopping marathon: “We have many in-store activities planned to give thanks to each and every associate working on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. These include prize giveaways, pep rallies, and round-the-clock food to keep associates fueled and energized for delivering excellent customer service.”

Penney’s is also bringing back its tradition of giving away two million Disney snow globes to customers starting at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, a tradition that was not followed in 2012. For Penney’s platinum cardholders, the retailer is offering limited-edition 2012 snow globes.

Separately, shares of Penney’s fell as low as $6.97 in intraday trading on the Big Board on Friday before ending the session down 4.8 percent to $7.00.

The decline was due to rumblings that Canadian credit agency Export Canada had cut credit to Penney’s. That rumor follows one earlier in the week that the retailer had hired bankruptcy counsel, which Penney’s had said was not true.

A Penney’s spokesman denied that there was any truth to the Canadian credit rumor, stating: “Despite what we believe to be unprecedented attacks on this company, we have made meaningful progress in our turnaround efforts. Just last week, J.C. Penney provided an update on the progress of our turnaround which cited meaningful improvements in our business trends and the expectation that we will end the year in excess of $2 billion in liquidity. These rumors are unequivocally false and constitute nothing more than attempted market manipulation by certain types of investors for their own personal gain.”