Holiday sales make up the lion’s share of annual revenue for most U.S. retailers, many of which depend heavily on holiday shoppers to meet their yearly goals. American consumers spent $616.1 billion last holiday season, up 4% from the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
In recent years, retailers have increasingly diverged on when the holiday shopping season should start. For many stores looking for an edge in the ultra-competitive retail landscape, kicking off the holiday season on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is too late. These retailers have decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Others, however, have pushed opening hours back. This could be a business decision, or — as many such retailers state publicly — that they feel it is unfair to both employees and shoppers to open on a day that is meant for giving thanks and celebrating with family. These stores, like a majority of retailers, have decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Companies that will be open on Thanksgiving include some of the nation’s largest retailers, including Target (NYSE: TGT) and Macy’s (NYSE: M). Department stores such as Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD), Kmart, J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP), and Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) will also be welcoming customers on Thanksgiving Day. Some specialty retailers will also be opening early, including The Gap (NYSE: GPS) and Toys “R” Us. For Toys “R” Us, the holiday season is especially important. The fourth quarter, which includes holiday shopping, has accounted for 43%, 42%, and 40% of its annual sales in each of the last three fiscal years.
For some retailers, there is simply less at stake during the holiday season. Many of these will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. Home improvement superstores, for example, may not feel the same pressure to be open on Thanksgiving because, unlike most retailers, the holiday season does not represent their peak sales period. For companies such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, the spring is usually the busiest time of the year.
Other retailers have decided not to open on Thanksgiving Day, stating publically at least that they prefer to give employees the day off. Both Barnes and Noble (NYSE: BKS) and the TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX) — parent of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods — have made public statements to that effect. Even some specialty retailers that largely rely on the holiday season have decided not to open on Thanksgiving. These include GameStop (NYSE: GME), for which — like Toys “R” Us — the holiday season accounts for a disproportionate share of sales.
Based on public statements made by major retailers, 24/7 Wall St. identified the companies closing stores on Thanksgiving Day. In order to be considered, a company had to be one of the top 100 retailers by U.S. sales, as measured by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Additionally, we only considered companies with a broad nationwide presence. We excluded restaurant companies such as McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), and grocery stores such as Publix. Of the companies that met these criteria, we reviewed the 10 largest by U.S. retail sales provided by the NRF. Company headquarters and other financial information came from the company itself or financial documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).