By Bob Johns
Here we go again. The holidays are fast approaching, and retailers are already “leaking” their Black Friday plans. Last week, our chief editor, Matt Pillar, discussed Kmarts plans to stay open 41 hours straight from 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Kmart is not alone in this trend of Thanksgiving Creep. Over the past few years many retailers have continued to push the envelope on Black Friday hours. It wasn’t that long ago that stores opened at 6 a.m., then it was 4 a.m., then midnight. Recently, retailers have started opening on the evening of Thanksgiving, and now some are open all day on Thanksgiving. The ultimate goal is to increase sales, but you have to wonder if it is effective.
Last year, many retailers reported minimal increases in sales overall, and little increase in sales during the holiday season — 2.5 percent according to the Johnson Redbook Index. The question I have is, “Are you just shifting the shoppers’ purchase time earlier in the season?” The original expectation was that people would shop earlier and spend more overall, however, the reality is that customers have set budgets, and they seem to be sticking to them. Once the customer has spent their allotted budget, they stop shopping, whether it is on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or the week before Christmas.
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