Economy

Kmart Workers Have To Come To Work Before Dawn On Thanksgiving

CREDIT: John Konstantaras/AP

Kmart will open its doors for Black Friday shopping a whole day early, starting at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day itself. Stores will remain open for 42 straight hours, closing at midnight on Friday, November 28.

Sears stores, which are owned by the same company, will also open that day — although later, with hours starting at 6 p.m. The company noted, however, that Kmart and Sears stores in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island won’t open, given their respective state laws that prohibit big box stores, department stores, and large supermarkets from opening on the holiday.

The day’s shifts will be filled by volunteers and seasonal workers who will be compensated with holiday pay, a company spokesperson told the Huffington Post. Last year, however, some Kmart workers reported that their requests to take the day off were denied, making their appearances less than voluntary.

American service sector workers are unlikely to be given paid holidays, since the country doesn’t guarantee them, and some who volunteer may be doing so because their regular schedules don’t give them enough hours to live on.

Kohl’s also announced that it will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The stores join Macy’s, which was the first to announce its Thanksgiving hours that will begin at 6 p.m., and Walmart, which will be open all day and require nearly 1 million workers to come in on the holiday. This makes the second year in a row that a number of large retailers will begin Black Friday shopping on Thursday, and at least seven other brands did the same last year, although they have yet to announce holiday hours this year.

Other stores, however, have gone a different route. Nine brands — American Girl, Burlington, Dillard’s, Coscto, GameStop, Nordstrom, Patagonia, REI, and TJX stores T.J. Maxx and Marshalls — have decided to be closed on the holiday. As Costco put it, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families.” Dillard’s, GameStop, and TJX all also said their decisions were driven by the desire to give employees time to celebrate with family and friends.

Those stores probably don’t need to worry about losing out on sales. Last year, sales didn’t get any extra boost at those that opened on Thanksgiving. Consumers said they wouldn’t shop on that day anyway and most disapproved of the early hours, with a sizable share saying it made them less likely to shop at a given store. At Kmart and Sears, comparable-store sales fell sharply during last year’s holiday season.