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More retailers to open their doors earlier on Thanksgiving

Published: Thu, October 31, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.


J.C. Penney at Southern Park Mall in Boardman already has Christmas displays. The company, along with Kohl’s and Macy’s, has announced that it will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

By Jamison Cocklin



More retailers have joined the rush to open their doors earlier on Thanksgiving, building on a trend that gained popularity last year and forced shoppers in the Mahoning Valley and beyond to wrap up their holiday gatherings to find a place in line.

Black Friday has essentially merged with Thanksgiving, sending shoppers on a 24-hour spree that finds consumers coming across the state line from Pennsylvania and from points north, south, east and west to take advantage of deals at their favorite retailers in the commercial districts of Boardman, Niles and other places.

This year, Kohl’s, Macy’s and J.C. Penney will join the lineup of major department stores and retailers opening their doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

It’s the first time in Macy’s 155-year history that it will open for the holiday; last year it opened at midnight. J.C. Penney will open at 8 p.m. to get a piece of the shopping action, and most of its stores nationwide will stay open for 25 hours and close the next day at 9 p.m. Kohl’s will be open for 28 hours straight from 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving to midnight the next day.

Toys R Us pushed Black Friday into Thanksgiving two years ago when it first opened at 9 p.m. Last year the trend became a norm as Target, Walmart, Sears and Kmart all opened at either 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. for the holiday.

“Retail is very competitive. It’s not just about opening on Thanksgiving anymore; we also have 24/7 buying on the Internet, and that’s changed the retail dynamic,” said Jack Kleinhenz of Cleveland, chief economist for the National Retail Federation. “Shoppers have a limited budget for holiday spending and everybody wants their share and piece of the action. Consequently, it’s turned into a situation where not having the doors open earlier is detrimental.”

The NRF said earlier this month that holiday sales, which are defined as those occurring in November and December, will increase 3.9 percent to $602 billion. That’s up slightly from last year when sales grew 3.5 percent.

Despite some political headwinds, wavering consumer confidence and subpar job growth, Kleinhenz said that’s still an acceptable growth rate with which many retailers will be satisfied.

Inflation, or the rate at which prices for goods and services increase compared with purchasing power, has barely budged, rising at an annual pace of 1.2 percent in August — just above the lowest rate on record.

That should free up some cash because prices have not climbed all that much since last year, Kleinhenz said.

Malls across the country are following the leads of large and small retailers as well, with many opening earlier this Thanksgiving than in years past.

“There’s such a demand for this with the way major and minor department stores have been opening earlier,” said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Cafaro Co., which owns and operates the Eastwood Mall complex. “We’re going to open the mall doors at 11 p.m. this year. We opened at midnight last year, but the demand is there and industry retailers are feeling pressure to open earlier.”

Bell said most of the mall’s retailers will be open. He said he also expects food venues to open for Eastwood’s Rock the Mall Midnight Ball, where there will be a disc jockey, promotions and giveaways.

According to a survey conducted for the NRF, consumers are expected to spend an average of $737.95 this holiday season on gifts, decor, greeting cards and other items. That’s 2 percent less than the $752.24 they spent last year.

Still, Kleinhenz added that the holiday shopping season really begins in October and ends in January when consumers spend the gift cards they received over the holidays.

Spending grows if those months are counted.

November and December sales account for between 20 percent and 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales and 20 percent of the total industry’s yearly sales, according to the NRF.


1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I have heard that any Southern Park or Eastwood Park mall stores that do not open Thanksgiving Day and follow flagship store hours like Macy's and Penney's will be fined by mall management.

If true, humbug and a lump of coal for your excessive greed this Christmas season to Southern Park and Eastwood (Cafaro) Mall management.

Some mall stores that do not have steady walk-in traffic, particularly at night, have petitioned against the arbitrary fines or have told their employees that they would rather pay the fines and give their employees Thanksgiving Day off. Congratulations to these companies for showing some sense of benevolence to their employees.

If you must, shop online Thanksgiving Day and let these underpaid and overworked retail employees enjoy the holiday like so many others.

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2southsidedave(4784 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

one word - GREED

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3bmanresident(597 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Poor underpaid retail workers? No one told them they had to work at these stores, they choose to work there knowing opening on Thanksgiving would be part of the job
Just another example of the Entitlement mentality that is evident in our society!

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4kelly20(1 comment)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

How long do you think the 8pm will stand it just takes one store to open up at 5pm next year and pretty soon Thanksgiving will be just another shopping day--Xmas will be next

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576Ytown(1251 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

southsidedave: You're right. GREED. And as long as the retail workers weekly hours are under 40 in a single work week, they won't get any overtime or extra pay for working the extra hours.

Most employees are just happy to have a job.

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6DwightK(1263 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If i was a clerk forced to work on Thanksgiving I'd be sure to give the worst possible service.

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7formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago


When was the last time that mall stores were open Thanksgiving Day prior to this year? NEVER! So don't be so smug about retail employees signing up to work on Thanksgiving. They didn't.

It may be hard for you to believe, but retail employees aren't exactly pampered by their employers. Many retail employees are treated like crap in scheduling without regard for family circumstances, are seeing work hours reduced to part-time to bump them off of company health care plans, and often are pressured to meet impossible sales quotas just to save their jobs. They work many holidays that others have paid time-off (New Years Day, Easter, 4th of July, Labor Day). Many would love to move on from their current positions if they could, but have families to support.

I taught business management for many years at a local university and many graduates are taking below-scale retail assistant management positions because nothing is available in the area and they need employment to pay their ridiculous student loans.

Some people simply aren't as gifted and fortunate in life as you believe you are. Lucky you. Rather than knocking retail employees for their "cushy" positions, give them credit for working for low hourly base wages and commissions rather than giving up and sucking off the public dole (thereby increasing your taxes).

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday evening off as these people trudge off to work to serve the petty needs of those who put profits before people..

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8formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 11 months, 3 weeks ago

BTW, I won't be shopping at Macy's, Penney's or Sears for the holidays. That's consumer power. Besides, their overpriced anyway.

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