Black Friday has apparently been moved to Thanksgiving Day this year. Many U.S. retailers have chosen to open on Thanksgiving Day for the first time ever in order to get a jump on leading the nation in overall holiday sales.
However, foul weather may be a huge factor in keeping some shoppers inside with their traditional meal and traditional football.
Macy’s was the first to announce it would end its 155 year old tradition of being closed on Thanksgiving Day. Kohl’s and J. C. Penney soon followed and also announced plans to be open on November 28.
Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us have announced plans to open earlier on Thursday than they did in 2012. Kmart is planning to open at 6 a.m. and many Wal-Mart Stores will be open all day with Thanksgiving specials to begin being offered at 6 p.m.
Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with Edward Jones, says that stores opening earlier will obviously get more sales but doesn’t think they will necessarily have the success they are expecting. He also thinks that overall sales will be up 2.8 percent for November and December. The National Retail Federation predicts a 3.9 jump in sales.
The National Retail Federation says up to 140 million shoppers are expected during Thanksgiving weekend which is slightly more than the 139 million estimated shoppers during the same period in 2012. This was estimated before many merchants made the plans to move Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day.
At Macy’s flagship department store in New York, five hundred employees will be at the counters on Thanksgiving Day. That particular store will be open for 26 hours starting at 8 p.m.
Though there have been improvements in the housing market and significant gains in the stock market, one study from ConsumerEdge Research indicates a lag in consumer spending thus far in the month of November.
Many shoppers in the low income bracket have been affected in a major way by recent reductions in food stamp benefits on the part of the federal government.
Even those in the high income bracket have concerns that may affect the shopping season. There are worries about healthcare costs being on the rise and another possible government debt fight on Capitol Hill in the first few months of 2014.
Another survey from Deloitte ascertains that fewer shoppers will visit merchants on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year as opposed to last year. According to an online survey of 1,000 shoppers, only 13 percent plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving weekend. This is down from 23 percent in 2012.
Black Friday has traditionally been the official start of holiday shopping and still is forecast by ShopperTrak to be this year’s biggest day in terms of traffic and sales. However, in another online survey, 53 percent of those responding had plans to shop on Black Friday. This is down from 63 percent in 2012.
Holiday weekend shoppers also planned to do some of their shopping online and split their budget evenly between shopping in stores and shopping online.
According to some experts, Thanksgiving is becoming the biggest day for online shopping. Even if it’s not much further than their computer chair, this may be another way that Black Friday moves to Thursday for many Americans.
By Rick Hope
Detroit Free Press