Early Trend Against Thanksgiving Day Openings Not Likely to Last

Posted on October 20, 2015

Black Friday 2015

Over the past several years retailers have moved Black Friday opening times completely into Thanksgiving Day. The openings first changed from early on Black Friday, like 5 a.m. or 6 a.m., to midnight openings. Then they started opening stores late on Thanksgiving Day around 10 p.m. In the last couple years the retailers pushed the opening times even earlier with an average opening time around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day last year.

This year some early signs have given shoppers hope that maybe we will see a return to the traditional opening times early on Black Friday. In the old days (which were not that long ago) Black Friday in-store shoppers would set there alarm clocks for 5 a.m. or earlier to get ready to hit the stores. A couple retailers this year - GameStop and Staples - have reverted to the more traditional Black Friday hours.

An NBC News story pours cold water on any hopes that this trend will continue with the big brick retailers. The article says, "As value-oriented retailers start to announce their holiday hours, however, it's likely that the Targets and Wal-Marts of the world, which thrive on door-buster deals, will once again kick off their sales on Thursday."

The article says over 22 million shoppers went to Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving Day last year. With that turnout it is unlikely they will revert to having Black Friday actually start on Black Friday this year. The scenario is likely similar for Best Buy, Target, Macy's and other major retailers.

If anything the in-store Black Friday shopping pattern for 2015 will probably continue to start even earlier get increasingly more complex. Many stores run as many as three separate sales from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday with different starting and ending times and different doorbuster deals during these periods. These limited duration sale periods tend to benefit the retailer and not the shopper. Consumers have to analyze more information and scrutinize the deals to make sure they get the items they want. Online shoppers also have to follow starting sale times because there can be inventory issues if you are not there at or near the start of the sale.

Those who love the traditional early morning in-store Black Friday shopping at least have GameStop and Staples this year. Perhaps, there will be more one or more retailers that revert to the old ways once all the store hour announcements come in. You can keep up with our Black Friday news this year on Twitter, @blackfriday, and Facebook.

Image: Writers Write, Inc.