While several retailers and mall operators are bucking the trend toward opening on Thanksgiving Day, others — such as Macy’s Inc. — are planning to open for a few hours in the evening to capture a bit of early holiday green.
A Macy’s spokeswoman said stores will open at 5 p.m., and remain open until 2 a.m. Friday morning, and then reopen at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
“Again this year, we surveyed our store associates well in advance, giving them an opportunity to tell us their preferences, and we are working diligently to staff Thanksgiving with associates who volunteer. Doing so means that our employees are able to make their own decisions about how they contribute to our most important and busiest weekend of the year. Additionally, associates who work any shift on Thanksgiving Day will be compensated with overtime pay,” she said.
The Macy’s spokeswoman added: “We deeply value the commitment and contribution of our associates across the country as we continue to focus on meeting customer needs in today’s competitive retail climate.”
Macy’s is opening its stores an hour earlier than last year. Before it began opening on Thanksgiving Day — its first was in 2013 when it opened at 8 p.m. — the retailer used to open at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday.
The holiday creep as far as store hours are concerned has been ongoing for a few years. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and a few others were opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day back in 2012. Also open were Target and Kmart. But in 2011, when Target said it would open at midnight on Black Friday, Wal-Mart kicked off certain Black Friday deals at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving day, and then opened up its door busters to electronics and other categories at midnight.
In an about face, Target Corp. this year said it will close on Thanksgiving Day. So too will Nordstrom, Costco, Dillard’s Inc., TJ Maxx and Neiman Marcus. On the mall operator side, CBL & Associates Properties Inc. said 72 of its 89 shopping locations would be closed.
When Mall of America said earlier this month that it would close on Thanksgiving Day, it noted that the closure would “give the holiday back to the [mall’s] 15,000 employees.” In a letter to employees from the mall’s executive vice president Rich Hoge and senior vice president of marketing Jill Renslow, they said the decision to close was so that “team members can put that energy where it matters most, into making memories with the people they care about most.” Mall of America recognized that some mall tenants might choose to open, and said mall security and other personnel would be on hand if necessary.
It’s still too early to know how many stores would be open or closed. A Sears Holdings spokesman said the company hasn’t yet disclosed whether Sears or Kmart would be open on Thanksgiving Day. A spokeswoman for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said its Hollister and Abercrombie stores would “follow mall operating hours.” J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. have yet to disclose their plans.
According to holidayshoppinghours.com, Gap and Banana Republic stores are to be closed on Thanksgiving, although Old Navy stores are expected to be open. The same site listed Boscov’s, Kay Jewelers, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Victoria’s Secret among those expected to close on Thanksgiving. The nameplates of those listed as open include Bon-Ton, Stage Stores and Wal-Mart.
There’s been concern that stores starting their holiday promotions sooner are finding those sales hurting their Black Friday events. And with many web sites starting their online specials the night before Thanksgiving, if not earlier in the week, it might be more economical to keep the day family friendly since e-commerce had been taking sales away from brick-and-mortar anyway.
This year’s holiday sales season is expected to show some growth from a year ago.
The National Retail Federation is predicting a 3.6 percent rise to $655.8 billion in holiday sales for November and December, up from the 3 percent gain a year ago. The 10-year average is a 2.5 percent gain and the seven-year average since the economic recovery began in 2009 is 3.4 percent. NRF is also predicting online sales to grow between 7 and 10 percent to as much as $117 billion.
Amazon said it is adding 120,000 seasonal workers, or 20 percent higher than a year ago. In contrast, hiring is flat at many brick-and-mortar locations: 83,000 at Macy’s, 69,000 at Kohl’s and 70,000 at Target.
This year, shoppers at 347 Macy’s stores and online at the retailer’s web site will be able to purchase gift items from Brookstone through a new partnership between the two firms. Tim Baxter, Macy’s chief merchandising officer, said, “By offering Brookstone at Macy’s, from headphones to speakers to kitchen gadgets or the perfect massage, their extraordinary items will add to our electronic offerings just in time for the holiday shopping season.”