Black Thursday? Retailers to open on Thanksgiving

By: Marie Jubert | The Duquesne Duke

Thanksgiving: a day to give thanks, spend quality time with family, eat some delicious food and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or even some football.

But would you ever consider shopping on Thanksgiving Day? This year, major stores are opening up not just for Black Friday but also early on Thanksgiving. American consumer culture is taking on an entirely different meaning due to the Black Friday phenomenon that is now affecting a beloved national holiday.

Audrey Guskey, associate professor of marketing at Duquesne, believes that the profit potential for retailers will not be vastly impacted due to the stores’ decision to open earlier.

“All of the money used to be spent on Black Friday so now the profit will be spread over the course of two days. People will not go out and shop on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” Guskey said.

Guskey believes that this is a poor marketing decision for these major retailers, fueled by Wal-Mart and Target opening on Thanksgiving with other stores opening to compete.

“As a marketer, I think that it’s a bad move. It is ruining the holiday for workers and shoppers, and also it is ruining the spiritual aspect of the holiday. Thanksgiving used to be the only pure holiday, however now it is not anymore,” Guskey said. “The thing is, although it is a holiday, people will still go out and shop.”

Kmart will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Best Buy will open at 6 p.m. Target, Sears, Kohl’s and J.C. Penny’s will be open at 8 p.m. on the holiday. Macy’s will also open on Thanksgiving for the first time in the company’s 165-year history.

Walmart’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, Duncan Mac Naughton expressed the high level of competition in a press release.

“Black Friday is our Super bowl and we plan to win,” Mac Naughton said. “Customers will ultimately decide when they want to shop. We have great options and great deals for them however, or whenever, they choose to shop Walmart.”

Macy’s is excited about being open for the first time on Thanksgiving Day and has not expressed any concern.

“Black Friday is the biggest
shopping event of the year and brings with it a level of fun and excitement to our customers across the nation,” said Macy’s chief stores officer Peter Sachse in a press release.

However, some stores such as Home Depot, Nordstrom, Costco and BJ’s are choosing to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day and will open on Black Friday.

Lauren Sen, the CEO of BJ’ Wholesale Club, which has locations in eastern Pennsylvania,feels that staying closed on Thanksgiving Day is the obvious choice.

“Maybe call me old-fashioned, but I feel that it’s an easy decision to make,” Sen told the Huffington Post.

Guskey predicts that the hype over consumption will continue to worsen over time.

“It’s going to escalate,” Guskey said. “We live in a very materialistic society and although most stores are opening in the evening on Thanksgiving, they may be open 24/7 eventually.”

Antony Davies, associate professor of economics at Duquesne believes that religion is the only viable solution to this growing social dilemma.

“For every problem society encounters, there are three tools it can bring to bear: government, markets and religion,” Davies said. “Use the wrong tool and you won’t solve your problem. If people aren’t spending enough time with their families, the problem is neither legal nor economic. The problem is moral. The right tool to address the problem is religion – convince people that their behavior isn’t the best. Neither economics nor government can solve the problem.”
Guskey offers a different solution for this issue. According to Guskey, if you are against stores being open on Thanksgiving, then do not go out and shop on that day. If there is not enough demand for stores to be open on Thanksgiving, then next year stores may rethink this decision.