The busiest shopping day of the year may be losing its edge as more stores open on Thanksgiving Day.
According to statistics from Adobe Analytics research firm, national sales on Thanksgiving Day this year increased 14.5 percent from last year while Black Friday sales decreased by 4 percent. The trend was visible at major retailers across Katy. Stores were busy, but not bursting with the pandemonium usually reserved for Black Friday.
Large retail stores have embraced the trend. Many stores offered special “doorbuster” incentives to entice shoppers from their dinner tables. As a result, the more aggressive shoppers get their shopping done on Thanksgiving, taking some of the pressure off of Black Friday.
Katy Mills Mall opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remained open until 1 a.m. The mall’s hours on Friday were from 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. Amanda Keller, a manager at Michael Kors, reported that they anticipated that the income from both days would be about even, despite the additional 10 hours of operation on Friday.
On Black Friday, stanchions were set up to accommodate a non-existant line. The stanchions weren’t needed on Friday, but according to Keller, on Thursday the lines were full and even winding out past the cordoned-off vinyl labyrinth. “We had the longest line in the entire mall,” Keller recalled. “It’s hard to imagine now- I mean, the store is crowded, but it’s not insane. Last night was unbelievable.”
Despite the increased numbers on Thanksgiving, Keller said that the store still anticipated reaching its projected goals for Black Friday. “I don’t think it’s that we’re planning to make less today,” said Keller. “We just made more last night than we expected.”
Casimir Onyilinba works in mall security. He was prepared for throngs of people on Black Friday, but he found it less intense than he had anticipated. “It’s been a little bit slow, really,” Onyilinba said. “We were prepared for a lot more people. But it seems like that all happened yesterday.”
Angelina Cedeno, a seasonal employee at Kate Spade, reported a similar phenomenon. The stanchions were empty Friday, but on Thursday, they were imperative for crowd control. “The lines were down the hall that the whole night,” said Cedeno. “It wasn’t just about keeping crowds down in the store. It was a safety issue.”
Kate Spade offered doorbuster deals on Thursday and Friday, but apart from a $199 crossbody bag that was marked down to $39, none of the doorbuster items were sold out by Friday. “(The crossbody bags) sold out pretty much immediately on Thursday, but everything else is still available. If you weren’t here yesterday, you didn’t miss out,” Cedeno said.
Not all shoppers trusted that stores would still have sale items available if they waited until Friday. Tisha Edwards shopped at the Michaels on Westheimer Parkway on Thanksgiving evening. The store opened at 6 p.m., and at 8 p.m., she was in the store loading a boxed Christmas tree into her cart. “I went last year on Black Friday, and they’d already sold out of the stuff I wanted,” she recalled. “I decided I wasn’t going to have that happen again this year.”
As an added lure, Michaels offered a coupon for an additional 30 percent off- for Thursday only. Edwards seemed unconcerned with the fact that she was shopping on a holiday. “I’m here with my mom, actually,” she said. “We’ve kind of worked it into our Thanksgiving tradition.”
The trend of shopping on Thanksgiving Day continues to grow, despite outcry that stores should be closed to give employees time with their families. Some groups have banded together to call for a boycott of stores that are open for Thanksgiving. The Facebook page “Boycott Shopping on Thanksgiving Day” has over 12,000 followers. The group has “Naughty” or “Nice” lists calling out stores that will be open on Thanksgiving (“Naughty) or closed for the holiday (“Nice”). Daily Wire has even gone so far as to compile a “List of Shame”, calling out retailers who, in their opinion, exploit their workers.
As to whether or not it upsets the employees themselves seems to be a matter of personal preference. As a seasonal employee, Cedeno said that she understood the requirements of a holiday position when she applied for the job.
“I’m not disappointed or anything,” said Cedeno. “You don’t take a seasonal retail job if you’re not OK working holidays. You know going into it that that’s how it’s going to be. If I had a problem working Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t have applied for this job.”
Cedeno said that she told her family what her Thanksgiving hours would be, and they adjusted dinner accordingly. “I found out my shift was going to start at 8 p.m., so we had dinner at 5. It was no big deal.”
Some shoppers still regard Thanksgiving as a family time, and even the doorbusters or fear of missing out won’t draw them out. As Glacia Moreno wove through crowds at the Westheimer Parkway Target on Black Friday, she admitted that the deals were appealing, but in the end, she chose to stay with her family on Thanksgiving. “I had to really try not to get swept up in it,” said Moreno. “It’s tempting to run out and get things on Thanksgiving. But I say to myself, ‘If I go on Friday and it’s not there, that’s OK. But missing out on my family is not OK.’”
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