More than 55 retailers will keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day this year, according to holiday deals site BestBlackFriday.com, which reached out to representatives from each store over the past month.
More retailers than ever before have already signaled they will close for the holiday, according to Best Black Friday co-owner Phillip Dengler, who noted to Retail Dive in an email that he expects the list to grow to more than 75.
Most stores told Best Black Friday that they’re closing so employees and customers can spend time with friends and family.
Since its creation, Thanksgiving has been a quintessentially American day, with no affiliations to any particular religion. It brings to mind peace and sharing between Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans, football games, pumpkin pie, and, of course, turkey. These holiday staples existed for years without the holiday commercialism that so upset Charlie Brown at Christmastime, when he famously asked Linus in exasperation: “Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Black Friday — so called because of the potential of the day’s sales to push a retailer out of the red and into the black — started around 1960 as a way to kick off holiday sales with special deals on a day that many had off from work. In recent years, as e-commerce stole some of Black Friday’s thunder, some retailers began the radical move of opening on Thanksgiving.
While the extra hours are a boon to mass merchants like Walmart and Target, for many retailers the costs of opening on Thanksgiving may not be worth it. Data from the NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking Total Channel show that fewer shoppers are turning out to shop on both days — and they are increasingly choosing to go out only on Black Friday.
These days opening on Thanksgiving is no longer a new idea, but it does remain controversial, prompting many to ask, essentially: "Isn’t there anyone who knows what Thanksgiving is all about?" Some 16% of Americans favor Thanksgiving openings while 58% dislike it and 26% are indifferent, according to Best Black Friday's research this year. In some states, retailers have little choice but to close on that day: Blue laws in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine prohibit stores from opening on Thanksgiving itself.
BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Neiman Marcus, Patagonia and TJX are just some of the major retailers closing this year on Thanksgiving. You can view the complete list on BestBlackFriday.com. Notably absent from this early list is outdoor retailer REI, which in the past two years has also famously closed on Black Friday, though Best Black Friday’s Dengler said it’s just a matter of time before the outdoor retailer makes its closure announcement. Outdoor Research, which followed REI’s radical Black Friday closure last year, will shutter on the big shopping day this year as well, according to the report.