Black Friday creeps into Thanksgiving permanently?

This season could mark the end of Black Friday as we know it.
Associated Press
Nov 24, 2012

For decades, stores have opened their doors in the wee hours on the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, major chains such as Target and Sears ushered customers in on Thanksgiving itself, even before the turkey leftovers had gotten cold, turning the traditional busiest shopping day of the year into a two-day affair.

Despite an outcry from some employees, both stores and shoppers seemed to like it. Some people went shopping with a full belly, going straight from the dinner table to the stores. Others slept off their big meal and went to the mall before daybreak on Black Friday.

"I ate my turkey dinner and came right here," said Rasheed Ali, a college student in New York City who bought a 50-inch TV for $349 and a sewing machine for $50 when Target opened at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. "Then I'm going home and eating more."

This new approach could become a holiday shopping season tradition.

"It's Black Thursday and Friday combined," said Jackie Fernandez, a retail expert at the consulting firm Deloitte. "This is going to be a new normal of how we shop."

It won't be clear for a few days how many shoppers took advantage of the Thanksgiving hours. But about 17 percent of people said earlier this month that they planned to shop at stores that opened on Thanksgiving, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs survey of 1,000 consumers.

Meanwhile, 33 percent intended to shop on Black Friday, down 1 percentage point from last year. Overall, it is estimated that sales on Black Friday will be up 3.8 percent to $11.4 billion this year, according to technology company ShopperTrak, which did not forecast sales from Thanksgiving Day.

The Black Friday creep began in earnest a few years ago when stores realized that sales alone weren't enough to lure shoppers anymore, especially with Americans becoming more comfortable buying things online. Opening on Thanksgiving was risky, with some employees and shoppers complaining it was almost sacrilegious.

But many stores evidently felt they needed an edge, especially this season, when many Americans are worried about high unemployment and wondering whether Congress will be able to head off tax increases and spending cuts before the U.S. reaches the "fiscal cliff" in January.

Overall, the National Retail Federation estimates that sales in November and December will rise 4.1 percent this year to $586.1 billion, below last year's 5.6 percent.

"Every retailer wants to beat everyone else," said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, a firm based in Charleston, S.C. "Shoppers love it."

At Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, most of its 4,000 U.S. namesake stores are already open 24 hours year-round. But the chain added special sales at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, two hours earlier than a year ago.

The company said that its start to the holiday season was "the best ever," with nearly 10 million transactions and 5,000 items sold per second from 8 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving.

Toys R Us opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than last year.

Macy's, which opened at midnight on Thanksgiving, had 12,000 customers wrapped around its store in New York's Herald Square.

Julie Hansen, a spokeswoman at Minneapolis' Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping center, reported that 30,000 shoppers showed up for the mall's midnight opening, up from 20,000 last year. "This was additional dollars," Hansen said. This year, 200 of the 520 mall tenants opened at midnight following Thanksgiving. That's double from a year ago.

To be sure, it's not clear whether the longer hours will turn into extra dollars for retailers, or whether sales will simply be spread out over two days.

The Thanksgiving openings appeared to create two waves of shoppers — the late-nights and the early birds.

Sam Chandler and his wife, Lori, were among the night owls. They started shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving. By the time they reached the Wal-Mart in Greenville, S.C., early Friday, they had already hit several stores, including Target and Best Buy.

"We've learned over the years, you have to stand in line early and pray," Sam said.

Stu and April Schatz of Rockland County, N.Y., went to the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J., which didn't open until 7 a.m. on Black Friday, because they didn't want to deal with the crowds that show up late on Thanksgiving night.

"It's so much more civilized going in the morning," said April Schatz, a teacher. "We wanted to enjoy our evening."

 

Comments

reporter54

It would be a better idea to go back to most stores being closed on holidays and eliminating Black Friday altogether. It brings out the worst in people and is a nightmare for employees that have to put up with those people. Another example of how employers don't care about their workers; just the bottom line and their bank balance.

BW1's picture
BW1

"eliminating Black Friday altogether"

Yes, because as we all know, there's some authority that decrees it, right? Look, it's called the free market. If people didn't show up and spend, it wouldn't happen. As long as people are willing to play the game, it will go on.

"employers don't care about their workers"

If the job isn't reasonable, find another job. If these stores found out no one would work for them, they'd change their ways until people started applying.

In a free market system, nothing happens witout willing participants.

mhsdad

There is an authority that decrees it. It is called the law. Any municipality can pass a law that says no business can be open on specific holidays or Sundays, or any other day they choose. Look it up, it has been done before. Just takes people passing a law.

BW1's picture
BW1

Blue laws were long ago found unconstitutional. The government can't enforce your sabbath or high holy days on others. This is still (ostensibly) a free country, your fascist fantasies notwithstanding.

This year, over a billion dollars were spent on black Friday, a new record. That doesn't happen without lots of willing participants.

Freedom is when other people get to make choices of which you don't approve.

deertracker

Agreed!!!

luvblues2

"Sam Chandler and his wife, Lori, were among the night owls. They started shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving. By the time they reached the Wal-Mart in Greenville, S.C., early Friday, they had already hit several stores, including Target and Best Buy.

"We've learned over the years, you have to stand in line early and pray," Sam said."

Pray to what? The store? YGBFSM!

Really?! Are there people who are that stupid?!

EdO's

Sam doesn't sound all that bright. It's the classic whip up the less intelligent into thinking they are saving "SO MUCH MONEY".

Think how much you save by not going at all.

Christmas has lost it's light and become become a mass brainwashing to consume junk. Boring.

Same with these news articles..."See, they're all doing it." Hogwash.

BW1's picture
BW1

Well, not all, but certainly an awful lot. $1 billion spent.

wiredmama222

If they want BLack Friday don't start till midnight. The heck with this thursday stuff

G_Richardson

I once stood in line for 8 hours to get into a venue, I was much younger and was dressed as a Imperial stormtrooper and the lady behind me was dressed as Princess Leia so it made the hours pass as water on a warm sunny day. When i finally made it to the door i paid the admission to see a wonderous land of Booth women and future I.T People that were kind, Courteous and most of all friendly. This proves two things, 1. That the only thing worth waiting in line for 8 hours for better be sold by a scantily dressed woman who knows the difference between a AT-AT and a Landspeeder and 2. People are nicer to one another if they are all armed to the teeth even if they are just armed with fake Lightsabers and BlasTech DL-44 replica's.

2cents

In my eyes the entire holiday was ruined about thirty years ago. Before that people and stores did not do much of anything until just around Thanksgiving, now that is about nonexistent. I saw fake Christmas trees going on display at Sears this past July! As a youth I enjoyed decorating and preparing for Christmas, my Ex-wife spoiled that by being way too picky about all the decorations and preperations that were never good enough. Black Friday is nothing more than a retail and media super hype day praying on the general public.