Just like the last post (about the NRF), there seems to be annual chatter about whether stores are opening too early for Black Friday weekend. (And “Friday” is clearly a misnomer.) In a few short years the commonplace opening time has gone from 5am to 3am to midnight to 8pm (last year) to 6pm (this year), if Macy’s internal announcement is any guide. Most of my fellow RetailWire panelists agree with me on this one:
Macy’s crocodile tears about this decision (it wasn’t easy, competitive pressures, and so on) get more disingenuous every year. Let’s be frank: Macy’s is by far the largest department store retailer in the country and one of the biggest general merchandise stores of any kind. So there is no point in being defensive about a decision to open earlier and earlier every year just because “the other guys made us do it.” Macy’s has the ability to set the tone for the industry — and to leverage its omnichannel initiatives — instead of just being a “follower.”
As I noted last year — when 8pm openings became more common — it is inevitable that many retailers will not close for Thanksgiving at all, and that day is not too far away. It’s smart brand positioning (and good employee relations) for stores like Nordstrom to keep away from the whole idea of opening on Thanksgiving Day.