Walmart's Thanksgiving Day Opening May Add Nothing to Its Bottom Line

Walmart Black Friday
Black Friday is bleeding into Thanksgiving Thursday, and not everybody is happy about the earlier start to the holiday shopping season.

Walmart (WMT) will begin offering its "doorbuster" Black Friday deals as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, a move that is forcing other retailers to follow suit.

Like most retailers, Walmart used to wait until early Friday morning to crack open its doors for the opening salvo of the Christmas shopping season, but after a Long Island employee got trampled to death in 2008, the chain has been aiming for earlier openings to help spread out the crowd.

That may be good news for shoppers, but not for the employees that will have to cut their Thanksgiving festivities short to stock the stores and man the registers.

Keeping up with Jones Inc.

As the world's largest retailer, Walmart sets the tone for the rest of the market.

Shortly after Walmart announced that it would be kicking off Black Friday events as early as 8 p.m. Thursday -- two hours earlier than last year's 10 p.m. launch -- Target (TGT) announced that it would be calling in its employees for a 9 p.m. opening.

They're not alone. Here are when some of the major retailers will be opening, according to a recent CNBC report.
  • Toys R Us, Walmart, and Sears (SHLD): 8 p.m.
  • Target: 9 p.m.
  • Kohl's (KSS), Macy's (M), The Sports Authority: Midnight
Protestors -- including some Walmart employees -- are planning on going on strike on Black Friday. As the country's largest retailer, Walmart is a popular target for activist groups incensed at the company's cost-prudent labor practices. They'll probably have a field day with the earlier openings.

New Time, Same Numbers?

Some will argue that opening on Thursday evening isn't going to make a material difference.

Kmart (now owned by Sears Holdings) has been opening during the day on Thanksgiving for more than 20 years, and the discount department store remains a perpetual disappointment.
What you plan to do after Thanksgiving dinner?
Watch football.1 (20.0%)
I plan head to the stores to shop the early sales.1 (20.0%)
Relax or Sleep.1 (20.0%)
We have a tradition to play football/ or other family games.1 (20.0%)
I am going to shop online from the comforts of my home.1 (20.0%)

However, the National Retail Federation reports that nearly 25% of Black Friday shoppers hit the stores by midnight on Thursday last year.

Clearly the customer demand is there for early bargains. Employees won't necessarily see it the same way, but many chains are offering higher overtime wages for those who volunteer to come in on the Thanksgiving holiday.

Until Walmart blinks, smaller retailers will have no choice but to play along.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article.

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Bob McGinnis

In regards to Kohls they mark their products way above retail that you can find at a small mom and pop store and then supposedly offer a sale which most of the time is what you originally pay at a mom and pop. Yes I own a mom and pop that not only sells clothing but embroiders and see it happen all the time with Kohl's. Don't even get me started on the Walmart crap. People go there and buy a $4 polo shirt that could not even pass for a good t-shirt and then expect to have it embroidered for the same price. Guess what AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN. Doesn't say much about quality when the embroidery is worth more then the crap shirt.

November 14 2012 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob McGinnis

Funniest thing about Walmart's is they sell junk to the public in the form of clothing however for their Distribution Centers they buy name brand or brands that are much better than what they sell. They do not even provide their employees with the junk they sell

November 14 2012 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really hate to break it to everyone, but every store out there is selling made in China products. I visited a Kohl's yesterday with my son, and I checked tags on many clothing items, it was no different other than, the prices were higher at Kohl's, Sears, and Target for the same name brand. For instance, Levi's 501's, $58.00 at Kohl's, &19.99 at Walmart, made in Indonesia. You do the math, and put your money right in the garbage can if you wish.

November 14 2012 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

China Mart is part of the problem!

November 14 2012 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who in their right mind would shop at Chinamart anyway.

November 14 2012 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In retail, what is referred to as loss leaders or traffic makers are not intended to be good for the bottom line. Getting folks in the stores is good for the bottom line. There may be a few shoppers who just come in for the loss leader, but, most are going to buy some other items while there.

November 14 2012 at 9:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I go into Walmart in my town I see nothing , but cheap junk. The store is very outdated and for the most part I can find what I want at small stores in town for the same price or lower. Another thing about the small stores you don't have to wait in a long line to check out because of the lack of cashiers. Walmart is not what it once was with most of the prodcucts now coming from China. Walmart pushed MADE IN AMERICA for a while then dropped the slogan.

November 14 2012 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Danny's comment

They have the same collection of junk from the same sources that Target has, just more of it. The reason you can find the same items at other stores at the same prices is due to Wal Mart.

November 14 2012 at 9:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It has become a very dollar driven world. Id almost bet that the ones making the decision to open on Thanksgiving are going to have a nice quiet family dinner that Thursday. Man whatever happened to Family time? That time gets shorter every year!!!

November 14 2012 at 7:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply