Macy’s ready for holiday shopping marathon
By Burton Speakman
In a year where companies opened earlier than ever to squeeze every minute out of the holiday shopping season, Macy’s has taken things a step further.
The store will be open all over the country, including locations at Eastwood and Southern Park malls, for 65 hours straight starting at 7 a.m. Friday and continuing through closing time Sunday.
The trend of extended hours is something that consumers should expect to spread to more businesses, said Gordon Gough, executive vice president of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
Companies are going to find a way to meet the demand for longer hours, he said.
The trend of expanded hours was evident this year as more companies opened on Thanksgiving or opened earlier on Black Friday, Gough said.
“Customers want the convenience of longer hours,” he said. “Online sales are also a factor.”
The increase in online sales is impacting how brick- and-mortar businesses operate. The companies simply want a level playing field with the online companies, Gough said.
Currently, online merchants with no physical presence in Ohio do not have to charge sales tax, making their goods 6 percent to 8 percent less than brick-and-mortar businesses, he said.
The Niles store has been preparing for the event for months, said Denise Sertich, vice president store manager at Macy’s at the Eastwood Mall.
“We’ve prepared for this even in our hiring of temp workers this year,” she said, declining to state how many temporary employees were hired at the Niles store.
The total expected hiring number for the Pittsburgh North district is more than 1,000, said Kamal Bosamia, media-relations manager for Macy’s North and Midwest Region. This district includes stores in north Pittsburgh and Northeast Ohio, including both Valley locations.
The longer hours are something customers want, Sertich said.
“They want to be able to shop whenever they want,” she said. “People also like to come during the night because the store is less crowded.”
There is an expectation that a number of men will take advantage of the sale being last-minute shoppers, Sertich said, although she expects a mix of customers during the 65 hours.
Sertich said she would not guess if the idea of being open for more than two straight days is something that would expand to more stores or be done by Macy’s in the future.
Macy’s isn’t the only store with marathon hours heading into the holiday.
Toys “R” Us will keep its stores open for 88-consecutive hours of shopping beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, through 10 p.m. Christmas Eve.
“By extending our shopping hours in the days leading up to Christmas, customers can take advantage of around-the-clock shopping at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide for all of their gift-giving needs whenever is most convenient to them,” said Troy Rice, Toys “R” Us, Inc. executive vice president for stores and services.