Thanksgiving has been one of those holidays in America that has long been considered sacred as a day off of work for just about everyone short of skeleton hospital crews and traffic police. That has changed as more and more brick-and-mortar retailers are chasing every last retail dollar when shoppers have starting their online shopping on Thanksgiving afternoon and evening. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) may be credited for starting the trend of opening up on Thanksgiving, but now we know that Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M) is planning to open its retail stores on Thanksgiving this year as well.
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In a company announcement about "Doorbusters, specials and spectacular discounts throughout the night and weekend" for Black Friday, the real issue is that Macy's said most stores would open their doors to the public at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening "after families across the country have finished their holiday meals and celebrations."
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Black Friday is the biggest shopping event for major retailers each year. That is true for Macy's and just about every other retail outlet that depends on Christmas and holiday sales. Macy's statement said:
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In response to interest from customers who prefer to start their shopping early, most Macy’s stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening, consistent with many other retailers. In a move to minimize the impact on associates, Macy’s began planning early to allow associates the time to review available shifts throughout the holiday season, including on Thanksgiving weekend, and to volunteer for the shifts they prefer.
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As a reminder, Macy's is one of the retailers hiring the greatest number of temporary workers for the holidays in 2013. What you can expect is that more and more companies will start opening up on Thanksgiving as well. The real issue to consider is that smaller retailers and mom-and-pop retail stores have a harder time competing here.
Thanksgiving may have been sacred before, but the world of online shopping, with an Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) dominance, is changing that more and more each year. The impact, and the name, of Black Friday sure appears as though it is simply on the path to becoming a new shopping day called Gray Thursday.
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Now about all that retailers have to do to stretch holiday spending just one step further is simply to not close on Christmas Day. This would accommodate more of the last-minute shopping crowd and to begin processing returns and capturing all of those gift card sales. The retailers might just have to figure out how to tell their workers that they have to spend their last prized holiday with customers rather than with their friends and family. That is more likely than retailers being able to petition Amazon to not take orders on Thanksgiving Day.
If opening on Christmas doesn't work, then perhaps big brick-and-mortar retails can petition Congress to make December and January have more days in the month and to shorten up the longer months of summer when retail sales are generally slow.
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