Opening On Thanksgiving Backfires For Retail Stores


Retailers that open their doors on Thanksgiving Day in hopes of boosting holiday sales are shifting purchases away from Black Friday, rather than increasing the number of overall transactions.

According to an initial reading of data from consumer analytics firm ShopperTrak, “combined sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell 0.5 percent from the same period last year,” the New York Times notes.


The data shows that sales increased 27.3 percent on Thanksgiving Day, but fell by 5.6 percent on Black Friday. A different survey from IBM also found that online shopping was up 14.3 percent on Thanksgiving Day from the same time last year.

“People are changing their behavior,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s co-founder. “We’ve seen this for two years in a row now. Stores opening on Thanksgiving are simply eroding sales from Black Friday.”

Some stores decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day in order to preserve the holiday for their workers and avoid siphoning off Black Friday customers. But at least 12 major chains were open on Thanksgiving Day, staffed by workers who have very little to say in the matter. Some are told that they will face repercussions if they refused to work on Thanksgiving and those who volunteer tend to do so because they are part-time, underpaid employees who are given erratic schedules and need all of the hours they can accumulate.

Retail employees and some customers have started pushing back against stores’ new hours, asking the companies to “save Thanksgiving.” Polls also show that half of Americans think opening on Thanksgiving Day is a bad idea and less than one in five bargain hunters who plan to shop on Thanksgiving weekend say they’ll do it on the holiday.