What made GameStop decide to open on Thanksgiving this year?
Some retailers have chosen to stay closed over the last couple of Thanksgivings while others have swung open their store doors. The justification for staying closed has been twofold. There’s the human side – giving employees a day off to spend with their families. And there’s the practical side – e-commerce has made it easier for people to shop from home, eliminating the need to visit a store on Thanksgiving Day for a deal (not to mention reducing the allure of chaotic doorbusters the following day). But this year one retailer has already announced that it plans to reverse course and open for business on Thanksgiving Day.
Video game retailer GameStop will be open this year, according to Mashable. The chain has closed its stores on Thanksgiving since 2014.
GameStop representatives claim that this year’s policy change is the result of both associate and customer demand. But the Mashable article speculates that the real reason is rooted in sales. Namely that the chain can’t afford to lose out to big players that are staying open and that the good PR generated by being closed on Thanksgiving in previous years is no longer significant enough to make up for lost holiday sales. Last year’s holiday season was GameStop’s weakest in a decade.
Last year more than 25 of the biggest names in retail were closed on Thanksgiving. Outdoor brand REI has even used its holiday closure as an opportunity for on-brand self-promotion. In 2015 the company launched its #OptOutside campaign, giving its employees a paid day off on Black Friday specifically to spend time outside with family and friends.
Thanksgiving seasonal shopping website theblackfriday.com has yet to update its page to list retailers staying open on Thanksgiving Day this year. The 2016 listings, however, display a few companies competitive with GameStop that were open on the holiday. Toys “R” Us and Best Buy were both open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day while Target and Walmart opened at 6 p.m.
Walmart’s website currently features a section touting the return of Black Friday. While it doesn’t mention 2017 hours for Thanksgiving Day, it features advice on strategizing both online and in-store shopping on Black Friday to take advantage of deals.
- GameStop is open on Thanksgiving and it looks like the same, old story: Online is winning – Mashable
- Is it time for retailers to stop the Thanksgiving madness? – RetailWire
- Stores Opening on Thanksgiving Day & Store Hours 2017 – The Black Friday
- Black Friday Returns – Walmart
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the good PR of staying closed on Thanksgiving still worth taking a potential hit in sales for retailers? Will we see more retailers this year staying open on Thanksgiving than in the past few years?