thanksgiving sale

Why Businesses are Shunning Thanksgiving Day Sales

The days of a lethargic post-turkey Thanksgiving may be over for many as retailers seemingly push to get a jump on Black Friday sales earlier every year.

But after a national trend expanding the Christmas shopping season to Thanksgiving Day, and the weeks leading up to it, more businesses are beginning to pull back.

One such example played out recently in Ann Arbor, Mich. – where a renewed protest chastised a local mall for its plan to open on Thanksgiving – a practice national labor groups also berate as unfair.

A Facebook page called “Boycott Black Thursday,” has more than 140,000 likes, and a petition circulating online is trying to urge Congress to make Black Friday a national holiday.

Many credit Wal-Mart’s 2009 decision to open on Thanksgiving night with causing the national trend, even as more businesses and chain stores reconsider the concept.

But the move may have less to do with compassion for employees and more with the bottom economic line.

According to the National Retail Federation, the early Black Friday launch has caused costs to rise, while last year saw an 11 percent drop in Black Friday weekend sales, potentially leading to a shift in thought.

The federation said in 2014 retail spending dropped about $5 billion during a four-day shopping bonanza beginning on Thanksgiving Day, a slump from 2013 when shoppers shelled out $51 billion during a four-day period.

The group said overall roughly 136 million people would shop during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Stores that do remain open are doubling down on the exceedingly low sale prices that first drew shoppers in to the early-morning deals.  The New York Daily News cited one survey through RetailMeNot showing some shoppers began their Christmas purchases on Labor Day.

Apple, TJ Maxx, Pier 1 Imports, and Barnes & Noble will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Kathy Welch, an executive with a company that runs two malls in New York City, said businesses are putting more resources into Black Friday itself, which remains the most profitable shopping day of the year for retailers.

“For this Black Friday stores are trying to return the excitement to the actual day and make it special again because it got so lost,” she said. “But at the same time, the reality is that customers are shopping way earlier than they used to and are looking for bargains right away.”

Read the full story here: