For some holiday shoppers, bargain hunting is a competition and Black Friday is the Super Bowl. All the preparation throughout the year goes into a few frenzied hours that determine winners and losers. Did you get that 50" TV you were aiming for, or did you camp out all night only to be caught in the stampede and end up empty-handed?
Meanwhile, that competition has come increasingly early each year. Stores began to open earlier and earlier on Black Friday, so it was inevitable that some stores would open on Thanksgiving and cater to those who would rather shop than eat turkey and watch football. Now, there seems to be a split in philosophy, with some retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day with special sales while others make a great public display of being closed on Thanksgiving out of respect for their employees.
Consider the pros and cons of stores staying open on Thanksgiving for both shoppers and retailers. First, let's look at the pros.
- More/Earlier Sales – If you live for holiday bargain hunting, you have more sale opportunities to score that perfect bargain. From the retailers' perspective, it provides the opportunity for stronger sales and income numbers — assuming that bargains are readily available and properly priced. If done correctly, a Thanksgiving opening can generate momentum that, with clever planning, can be sustained through the entire holiday shopping season.
- Competitive Advantage – As a retailer, if your competitors are not open on Thanksgiving, you are gaining multiple advantages. You get first crack at serving the Thanksgiving/Black Friday bargain hunters, and are likely to reduce the traffic at your competitor's opening as a result. Increasing sales is one thing, but taking sales away from your competition is another.