There’s a growing trend in the retail world to close on Thanksgiving. And there appears to be some sound business strategy behind it.
As retailers have pushed Black Friday door-buster deals earlier each year, a small but growing number of companies has gone in the other direction.
Clothing retailer H&M is the latest company to shun the ever-earlier sales trend by announcing that it will close its U.S. stores on Thanksgiving. It joins Staples, GameStop and others in staying closed on the holiday. Two weeks ago, REI went a step further by saying its stores, distribution centers and headquarters also would be closed on Black Friday.
What’s driving the movement? The ease of online shopping has kept some retailers from opening their doors ahead of Black Friday. And the decision to close on Thanksgiving to give employees time with their families can also lead to increased brand loyalty from shoppers.
Last year, Black Friday weekend sales dropped 11% and shopper traffic was down 5.2%, evidence that promotions on Thanksgiving cannibalize sales later in the weekend.
Another consideration for retailers is what are they’re selling. Black Friday shoppers generally look for big-ticket items such as flat screen TVs that carry a larger discount than apparel promotions.
As a result, smaller retailers have a harder time matching those deals, and more of them seem to be staying closed on Thanksgiving this year.