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On October 19, 2013, Macy's Inc (NYSE: M ) announced that it was opening its doors on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in its history.
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The same people who had been bringing the New York parade made famous by the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, were going to interrupt arguably America's biggest holiday so that you and your family could go shopping that very same evening - and in the process, get Black Friday off to a running start.
The problem - other than the obvious one that a Thanksgiving Day opening would eliminate one of the few dates on the calendar where family actually eats at the same table and enjoys a bit of turkey and football together - is that it diminished the importance of Black Friday.
In recent years, many retailers have intertwined Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday to such an extent that both days have seen revenues decline rather than grow.
In 2015, according to ShopperTrak, revenue at retailers open on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday both declined 10% year-over-over. Retailers open Thanksgiving Day saw revenues drop by $200 million to $1.8 billion, while Black Friday revenues declined by $1.2 billion to $10.4 billion.
The only bright point? Online sales on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday increased by 25% and 14%, respectively. Even better, those retailers who were closed on Thanksgiving Day experienced a significant increase in year-over-year online revenues.
You can have your cake and eat it too. The following are five retailers that will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2016.
Bulk Buying on Hold
Retailers are closing on Thanksgiving for various reasons - Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST ) resisted the temptation to open on Thanksgiving Day when Macy's dropped the gauntlet back in 2013.
"Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families," Paul Latham, the company's vice president for membership and marketing, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post . "Nothing more complicated than that."
And besides that, Costco's members are a fairly loyal bunch. They're not about to go to another warehouse-style operation simply to replenish the pantry on Thanksgiving Day. They're just not.
No Office Supplies
Several months removed from a federal judge blocking the merger between Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS ) and Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ: ODP ), the latter has decided to close on Thanksgiving for the first time in four years.
Office Depot feels that its business gains more by being closed on Thanksgiving Day both in terms of its employees getting time off to enjoy it with their families and delivering better results on Black Friday.
While industry experts suggest not opening on Thanksgiving Day could lead to competitors taking some of your business, it's good to see some companies are able to look past the almighty buck. Especially one's like Office Depot, which hasn't exactly had an easy time of late closing stores by the hundreds.
Summertime Is Our Time
While it doesn't open on Thanksgiving Day, Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN ) has a long-standing tradition of employees volunteering along with their friends and family to go into the stores and put up the holiday decorations before the stores reopen on Black Friday.
Who doesn't like putting up decorations for the holidays? And besides that, Nordstrom is generally busier in July when it holds its annual anniversary sale. For them, closing on Thanksgiving Day is a no-brainer.
We Love The Great Outdoors
While it's not a public company, you can't help but admire the conviction of sporting goods retailer REI, which now closes on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
Last year, it created the award-winning #OptOutside marketing campaign that centered around REI closing its doors on Black Friday so that both its employees and customers could get outdoors and enjoy nature.
"Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside," said CEO Jerry Stritzke in a November 2015 statement. "We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles."
Guess what happened? REIs online traffic jumped 10% on Thanksgiving Day and 26% on Black Friday.
REI is proof positive that good decisions for your people can also be good for business. A real win/win.
Retailers Aren't the Only Ones Closing
Regional shopping center real estate investment trust CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE: CBL ) announced Oct. 12 that it was closing 72 of its malls on Thanksgiving Day 2016 instead of opening at 6 p.m. on the holiday Thursday as it did last year.
While CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz reasons the holiday closing allows his employees and those of its tenants to take a well-deserved break, you can't help but think the REIT wouldn't be following the lead of the Mall of America if there weren't a business case for doing so.
Now that mall owners are starting to lead the charge to cut back on the hours open during this big holiday weekend, it's only a matter of time before more retailers follow suit.
Opening on Thanksgiving Day is simply bad business, bad human resources and, most importantly, bad for shareholders.
As of this writing, Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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