November 16, 2013. Retrieved online November 20, 2013 from Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces Sun-News
[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Sun-News article]
LAS CRUCES >> Thanksgiving used to be a day for family, digestion, football and, for many, planning the next day’s shopping adventure.
After all, Black Friday –the day after Thanksgiving — has long been the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season and has often been marked with long lines outside stores early in the morning as people waited to take advantage of sales and deals called doorbusters.
The times, though, they are a changin’.
Thanksgiving has become a shopping day as well.
“Holiday retail sales are one-fourth of total annual retail sales and about 30 percent of a retailer’s annual profit,” said Bruce Huhmann, associate professor of marketing at New Mexico State University. “So, competition among retailers for consumer dollars during the holiday season is intense. Some retailers believe that they can get a jump on the competition by opening earlier.”
NMSU economist Chris Erickson said ever-growing competition has pushed companies to open their doors on a day many have traditionally been closed.
“Stores seek to gain an advantage over their competitor,” he said. “One way of doing this is try to scoop the sales of other stores by opening on Thanksgiving.”
Erickson, though, does not believe the move will pay too many dividends. “If one or two stores do this, those stores might gain an edge; but if most stores do so, the advantage is dissipated by competition,” he said. In the end, Erickson said he believes the same amount of holiday shopping will take place whether stores are open a day before Black Friday or not.
“Thanksgiving Day openings will have little or no effect on total holiday sales as total spending is unchanged, just reallocated from later in the season to earlier,” he said.
Huhmann said that he believes the new shopping shift will stick.
“I think that Thanksgiving shopping is here to stay,” he said. “Retailers would not do it if it were not popular with consumers and profitable for the retailer.”