Some retailers buck push to be open on Thanksgiving
Steve Raabe / The Denver Post
Chuck Ewing has a Thanksgiving shopping tip for you: Stay home.
The chief executive of Appliance Factory Outlet is taking a stand against Turkey Day commerce. In the face of a movement by merchants to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, Ewing is keeping his closed.
“It seems like there’s a lot of pressure out there from other retailers to open up on Thanksgiving,” Ewing said. “But I think it’s a disservice to American society. We want to support Thanksgiving as a traditional time to celebrate and connect with our families.”
The practice of stores opening on Thanksgiving was virtually unheard of a few years ago.
But as the economy weakened in 2008 and has remained tepid since then, retailers have extended holiday hours in an effort to attract shoppers.
Stores scheduled to be open for at least a portion of today include Kmart, Sears, Toys R Us, Walmart and some Old Navy locations.
“It smacks of desperation,” said retail analyst Jeff Green of Phoenix-based Jeff Green Partners.
“It’s really competitive out there,” he said. “The prevailing attitude on the part of retailers seems to be that any consumer they get on Thanksgiving is a consumer that the other folks don’t get.”
Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store in recent years has opened its doors on holidays such as New Year’s Day and Independence Day. But Thanksgiving and Christmas remain off limits to commerce, lead buyer Cathy Langer said.
“We just don’t feel like it’s something we want to do,” she said. “It makes sense to have at least a couple of days where you don’t have to go into work and can stay home with family or friends.”
The National Retail Federation forecasts a 2.3 percent rise this year in November and December sales compared with last year.
But aside from that modest increase, merchants again this year will be competing for a pool of consumers still wary of the prospects for economic recovery.
“Retailers (opening today) essentially are fighting for a larger piece of the same-sized retail pie,” said retail consultant Brad Wilson, who edits several price-comparison websites.
Ewing said he stands to lose Thanksgiving Day sales to competitors such as Sears, but he’s encouraged by the fact that other appliance sellers such as Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s had not announced plans to be open today.
But just how big is the market for appliance shoppers looking to bag a holiday bargain? You might be surprised.
“That stainless-steel French-door refrigerator has a little pizzazz to it,” Ewing said. “People say, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t mind getting one of those as a gift.’ ”
Jeff Green Partners was founded in May of 2004 in response to a growing demand for a new level of expert consulting services in the retail real estate marketplace. Led by President and CEO Jeff Green, Jeff Green Partners provides a full spectrum of analytical and interpretive services for property owners and developers.