Is it time for retailers to stop the Thanksgiving madness?
The consumer electronics retailer, hhgregg, is the latest retail chain to announce it is giving store employees the day off on Thanksgiving. As the company’s president and chief executive, Bob Riesbeck, tells it, the decision was the right thing to do for the company and its employees. “It’s time,” he told The Associated Press, “to stop the madness.”
While hhgregg stores will be closed on Thanksgiving, the company’s e-commerce site will be up and running. Stores will open for business on 7:00 a.m. on Black Friday.
According to Mr. Riesbeck, conversations with store managers led him to conclude that hhgregg will do “exceedingly well” during the Thanksgiving week and Black Friday weekend even with stores closed on the Thursday. Critics of earlier openings on Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend in past years have argued that it does little to increase sales or market share for retailers while putting more stress on workers and increasing labor costs.
Hhgregg was among the retailers who pursued earlier openings. According to the AP report, the chain has opened stores at 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving the past two years while closing at midnight. It then reopened on Black Friday at 7:00 a.m.
REI made a major public relations splash last year when it gave 12,000 workers Black Friday off with pay so they could spend the time outdoors with family and friends.
In announcing the company’s #OptOutside campaign, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke said, “We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles.”
The website BlackFriday.com recently published a list of retailers who have chosen to stay closed on Thanksgiving. Here’s a partial list of those keeping the lights off:
- Barnes & Noble
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Crate and Barrel
- Guitar Center
- Hobby Lobby
- Home Depot
- Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
- Mall of America
- Mills Fleet Farm
- Neiman Marcus
- C. Richard & Son
- Pier 1 Imports
- Raymour and Flanagan Furniture
- Sierra Trading Post
- The Container Store
- J. Maxx
- Tractor Supply
- Von Maur
- Another retailer to close on Thanksgiving – The Associated Press/USA Today
- Stores Closed on Thanksgiving – BlackFriday.com
- REI gives workers the day off on Black Friday – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a stronger business case for retailers staying open or closed on Thanksgiving? What do you see as the biggest benefits or drawbacks with the decision to stay open on the holiday?