Holiday shoppers are expected to spend about 3.9% more this year than they did last year, according to a National Retail Federation estimate. And in order to facilitate the shopping experience, retailers are pulling out all the stops.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has traditionally represented the start of the holiday shopping period. Over the past few years, a kind of arms race has developed among retailers, and stores have opened their doors earlier and earlier each Friday. In fact, Black Friday may soon be a thing of the past. Many of the biggest retailers are even going to open on Thanksgiving Day in an effort to combat a shopping season that is nearly a full week shorter than last year.
It is possible that the earlier opening hours will not have the desired effect. Instead of increasing sales, they could just be pushing the spike in sales forward. Last year, many companies began selling on Thanksgiving for the first time. This reduced sales on Black Friday, and overall holiday spending had its smallest increase since 2009.
Holiday retail sales a year ago were up about 3.5% from the year before, despite the longer shopping hours. In 2011, they were up 5.6% over 2010. These figures certainly make it harder to argue that more Thanksgiving hours provide any boost in overall holiday sales.
Here is our rundown of opening hours at eight top retailers for the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend.