Consumers nationwide have criticized this year’s trend of retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day, saying that for many it has ruined the traditional family time so many cherish, but retailers may also find that because of the earlier opening, traditional “Black Friday” sales will be lighter.
Since Black Friday came to be the norm in the 1990s, many retailers have looked to this high-volume shopping day to boost profits, some even finding the higher sales putting them over the top and into “the black” on their ledger books–hence the name.
But with so many retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day, some analysts worry that Black Friday may become “blah” Friday.
Bill Martin, the founder of ShopperTrak, told the Associated Press, “The biggest impact of the expanded Thanksgiving openings this year, could be that they cost Black Friday enough sales to cause it to lose its spot as the No. 1 shopping day to the runner-up, Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, which this year falls on Dec. 21.”
Still, even with the day earlier opening for many large retailers, the Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day combo will likely retain its reputation for boosting sales.
However, the AP makes one interesting point that might make the Thanksgiving Day openings appear less than optimal in the long run. The increased overhead of a holiday opening may be an anchor that drives down profits.
If retailers see the volume of sales grow on into the holiday shopping season, they may come to realize that the increased costs of overtime pay and deep discounts may prove a Thanksgiving Day opening to be an expensive proposition they won’t soon repeat.
Certainly the many stores that opened on Thanksgiving Day this year are undertaking a big experiment that will take the 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas to play out. It is an experiment that will determine whether or not Thanksgiving Day openings become the new retail norm.