More than 60 major retailers have confirmed their stores won't open on Thanksgiving Day this year — the most at the earliest ever, according to a report from deals site BestBlackFriday.com, which expects the list to reach more than 100 in coming weeks.
Stores closures will include: BJ’s Wholesale, Costco, Crate & Barrel, Dillard's, H&M, Home Depot, Ikea, Marshalls, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, Patagonia, PetSmart, REI, Sam’s Club, Staples and TJ Maxx, among others.
Just 24.7% of Americans favor Thanksgiving openings, and 47.7% outright dislike them (with 27.7% indifferent), according to BestBlackFriday's Sept. 30 SurveyMonkey survey, which had 1,069 responses, BestBlackFriday co-owner Phillip Dengler told Retail Dive in an email.
Shuttering on Thanksgiving, at least for major retail chains, is turning out to be a no-brainer in the era of e-commerce.
Many major retailers have done the math, and the sales generated from stores on Thanksgiving Day can't compete with the negative publicity they get from staying open, according to Jim Fosina, CEO of Fosina Marketing Group. "There is no longer the same built up anticipation that the BEST deals happen at the stroke of midnight on Thanksgiving Night," he said in an email to Retail Dive. "There has been growing backlash in recent years about the fact that regular people can't even celebrate one of the most universally enjoyed holidays (Thanksgiving) without having to work at least some part of that day."
Most stores told BestBlackFriday they’ll close to give employees and customers time with family and friends. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine already prohibit stores opening on Thanksgiving.
Holiday shopping has started earlier and is lasting longer, which makes Thanksgiving less important to retailers' overall take for the season, according to Fosina. The calculation factors in the fact that most retailers will still be able to ring up sales online.
"With online purchasing reaching meteoric levels in terms of share of holiday shopping, the idea that brick-and-mortar sales on Thanksgiving would be a 'missed opportunity' has no basis in fact," Fosina said. "Most retailers are using e-commerce and subscription efforts as a strong replacement channel versus in-store purchasing, especially on the actual holiday. We see this trend continuing to expand as consumers become cognizant that they are not 'missing anything' by shopping on Thanksgiving."
But there are some retailers that can't afford to shutter on Thanksgiving. They, too, have done the math, and that equation involves Amazon, according to BestBlackFriday 's Dengler.
"We do not fault the biggest stores — Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's — for deciding to open on Thanksgiving," he told Retail Dive in an email. "They are all competing with Amazon on Thanksgiving, and opening their brick-and-mortar locations at least evens the playing field a bit. Smaller and medium retailers can get away with closing on Thanksgiving, while the largest retailers cannot."