Why Are Retail Stores Open on Thanksgiving Day?

thanksgiving-open-200Like it or not, retailers will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day (or Thanksgiving Night) so mobs of consumers can get great deals on flat panel televisions, iPads, toys, apparel and more.

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Bricks-and-mortar merchants have a reason – or an excuse – to open their doors before the stroke of midnight on Black Friday:

Monkey see, monkey do. If Walmart is open, then Target has to follow suit… as does Kmart… as does JCPenney… as does Kohl’s… as does Sears… as does Macy’s…

Customers want to shop on Thanksgiving… so merchants say. But according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, just 13% of consumers plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day. The National Retail Federation’s figure is a little higher: of those consumers who plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend, 23.5%, or 33 million, plan to on Thanksgiving Day. And, of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, 69.2% say they shopped online and in stores on Thanksgiving in 2012.

Which brings us to ecommerce. Bricks-and-mortar merchants are concerned about rising sales numbers seen by their pure-play counterparts (even though ecommerce sales are still dwarfed, in general, by bricks-and-mortar sales in most earnings reports we see). Rue La La said it had record-breaking Thanksgiving Day sales in 2012 and, as important, saw those numbers spike at 8 p.m., the magical hour most stores will open this year.

[RELATED: Boycotting Retailers on Thanksgiving Day? Boycott These Professions, Too]

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