What’s become known “Black Friday creep” has been raising eyebrows in recent years. That’s the retailing trend to extend “Black Friday” special sales hours into Thanksgiving. Last year, WalMart began its Black Friday sales at 6pm on Thanksgiving and Target at 8pm. This year, Macy’s has joined the trend by announcing that its stores will open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Macy’s is the first major retailer of 2014 to advance the creep of shopping hours into the Thanksgiving holiday.
But this year there’s another trend that is raising eyebrows.
There are at least 28 major retailers that have decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving. This list, so far:
Barnes & Noble
Bed, Bath and Beyond
BJ’s Wholesale Club
Burlington Coat Factory
Crate & Barrel
Jo Ann Fabrics
Sur La Table
Von Maur Department Stores
The reasons for bucking the trend and remaining closed on Thanksgiving all boil down to one consideration: family. Retailers who are keeping Black Friday to the day after Thanksgiving are conscious not only of the desire for consumers to be with family, but more prominently the desire of employees to spend the holiday with loved ones rather than working.
“At GameStop we often use the phrase ‘protect the family’ in reference to our business,” said Jackie Smith, GameStop’s Manager for Corporate Communications. “A large part of what that means to us is to not open any of our GameStop, SimplyMac, Spring Mobile, or Cricket Wireless US locations on Thanksgiving Day out of respect for our store associates and their families and friends. We believe it’s the right decision not only for our employees, but also for our customers. Enjoy this time with your loved ones and we’ll see you on Friday. For us, closing stores on Thanksgiving is a principled stand to allow our associates the time with their families, and we’ve received a positive response from our associates and customers, as well.”
Some may argue that since Thanksgiving Day isn’t a religious holiday, there’s no harm in letting Black Friday creep into it. Others, however, point out that it’s not the religiosity of the holiday, but rather its symbolic significance that counts in this respect.
For that reason, Sur La Table stores will be closed nationwide on November 27.
“Sur La Table will not be opening its retails locations and cooking class programs on Thanksgiving Day,” said Sur La Table Executive Vice President of Retail, Jeff Gottlieb. “Our people share a passion for cooking and entertaining with our customers on a daily basis. We want to make sure they can share that same passion with friends and family on the biggest cooking and entertaining holiday of the year.”
TJX Companies, Inc. share that opinion.
“All of our T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post stores will be closed on Thanksgiving and are scheduled to open on Friday morning, November 28th. We consider ourselves an associate-friendly company, and we are pleased to give our associates time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends,” said Colleen Beauregard, Assistant Vice President of TJX Corporate Communications.
The decision whether or not to extend Black Friday creep into Thanksgiving affects employees and customers, but it affects other retailers as well. Particularly in malls and shopping courts, the fact that other, major, retailers are open on Thanksgiving puts pressure on those that may wish to keep their doors closed.