Ten p.m. must have been too late a start for Walmart last Thanksgiving. This year the retailer has decided that it will swing open its doors at eight o'clock in a rush to capture greater share of consumer expenditures this holiday season.
Walmart will not be alone as others are also trying to gain any edge they can. Interestingly, Walmart takes this action as many question the relative importance of the Black Friday weekend when online sales make up a growing percentage of holiday season sales and consumers push purchasing closer to Christmas.
The push to move up hours has also led to disgruntled employees who think Walmart and others can do just as well overall during the season without having associates work a shift on Thanksgiving. Last year, a Target employee named Anthony Hardwick started a petition on change.org to ask the chain to change its opening from midnight on Black Friday to 5:00 a.m. While Mr. Hardwick was not successful in his bid to get Target to delay its opening, he did manage to get more than 40,000 people to declare their support.
A RetailWire poll last November found that 78 percent believe it is somewhat to very likely that most large chains will open for business on Thanksgiving at some point in the years to come.
How big an advantage will Walmart gain by opening its stores on Thanksgiving?