Do Thanksgiving Day Closures Really Affect Retailers’ Bottom Lines?

This year, more than 100 national retailers are taking a stand and choosing to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving Day. The list includes Dillard’s, H&M, Allen Edmonds, Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, REI, Marshalls and Stein Mart. Many of these stores have cited a desire to give their employees and customers an opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and simply enjoy the holiday. But will this decision affect their sales?

If the old retail adage holds true that consumers vote with their wallets, the answer may be no. A new survey conducted by BestBlackFriday.com reveals that Americans overwhelmingly want stores to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly 19 percent of those polled revealed they dislike Thanksgiving openings while 29 percent strongly dislike them. Fewer than a quarter of Americans actually prefer that stores stay open.

Women, in particular, are all about preserving the sanctity of the family holiday. A majority (51.4 percent) of females do not like stores being open on Thanksgiving, compared with about 43 percent of men. Not surprisingly, older Americans (ages 60-plus) are also against the practice.

What’s more, data from previous years suggests that the trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving Day has little effect on overall holiday performance for retailers. Last year, consumer research firm Shoppertrak said Thanksgiving Day openings merely redistribute traffic numbers from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well as the Saturday and Sunday that precede it. Indeed, the firm’s research indicates that Thanksgiving Day openings may actually have a negative impact on operating costs and staff morale without actually resulting in bigger revenue hauls.

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