Go to Macy's or Eat Pumpkin Pie? Stores to Open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving

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Macy's Plans to Open on Thanksgiving For Early Black Friday Sales
"Miracle on 34th Street" has crossed the intersection of Reality Boulevard and Main Street.

There was further confirmation Monday of a story we first reported back on Oct. 2: Macy's (M) -- the iconic department store chain profiled in the Christmas classic -- will be joining many of its peers kicking off their in-store Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving evening.

The news hasn't been made official. Macy's Black Friday page remains unchanged from last year, when the retailer offered online shopping of its Black Friday sale on Thursday, but waited until midnight to open its brick-and-mortar stores. However, reports that were officially unearthed by Consumerist earlier this month are now being confirmed by several employees who have been asked about their availability to work on Thursday.

That means at some houses, Thanksgiving turkey will be served a bit earlier in the day so mom and dad can duck out early to either go shopping or to work the register. Save them a slice of pumpkin pie.

Gray Thursday

It's hard to blame Macy's: It's certainly not breaking new ground here. The same Black Friday doorbuster bargains that used to await shoppers at dawn on Friday have pushed up against midnight openings in recent years. Now those sales are bleeding into Thursday.

Walmart (WMT) received plenty of negative public attention last year when it opened at 8 p.m. Thursday, as Macy's will do this year. Walmart had opened at 10 p.m. the year before that -- and the world's largest retailer probably felt that it didn't have much of a choice about moving the opening up, considering that Sears (SHLD) and Toys R Us were unlocking their doors last Thanksgiving at 8 p.m. Target (TGT) held out until 9 p.m.

Macy's stuck with a midnight opening last year, keeping company with Kohl's (KSS) and The Sports Authority, but now it has decided to compete with the discounters.

The fear here is that shoppers will be all tired out from chasing deals come midnight on Friday. If a retailer wants to make a splash this holiday season, it'll need to join the early birds.

Blue Christmas

It's not just the sales that are bumping up earlier in the calendar. Several retailers have been promoting their holiday offerings as early as this summer.

Walmart and Sears-owned Kmart began offering their layaway holiday plans earlier this year, hoping that patrons would start checking people off their Nice lists sooner than ever.

Reactions will be mixed among Macy's target customers. There are probably more than a few shoppers that will welcome going to sleep earlier on a full Thanksgiving-stuffed stomach than having to wait until midnight to hit up the local mall anchor. Others will naturally object to feeling like they are being pressured to duck out between spoonfuls of cranberry sauce and before the last of the NFL games are over.

Some employees will welcome the opportunity to earn a little extra dough with the longer hours, though many won't be happy about cutting holiday short. And it will be significantly harder on the employees: The stores may open at 8 p.m., but workers will have to come in hours earlier to start setting up.

And in the end, will any of it make a difference to Macy's bottom line? History hasn't exactly been kind to retailers on that front.

Despite opening up two hours earlier in 2012, Walmart's comparable store sales for last year's holiday quarter were up a mere 1 percent -- a bump that didn't even keep up with inflation. Comparable sales at domestic Sears stores rose a similarly ho-hum 0.8 percent. Nor did it look as though Macy's suffered by opening a few hours later: It posted its largest-volume Thanksgiving weekend ever.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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112 Comments

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Liz

Shame on people who shop and force other people given no right to say no I want to stay home with my family. America grow up.

October 16 2013 at 8:19 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
thundarbp

this company is so desperate for sales it has to open on a hoilday.how sad that a company has to sift every dollar they can from the consumers.that a lot people wont shop there .what a sad state we are in .when the most important thijng is shopping.i hate holidays because of retaiers

October 16 2013 at 12:19 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

WILL THESE STORES TAKE ,,,EBT CARDS.????
PUT,,,THESE PEOPLE WILL NOT BE UP THAT EARLY IN THE MORNING...

LOOKS TO ME LIKE IT IS A SIN TO HAVE A JOB AT ALL........GOVERMENT WANTS YOU ON THERE EBT,,,WELFARE PROGRAMS....

October 15 2013 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

I GUESS NOW DAYS,,,IT IS A SIN TO MAKE PEOPLE WORK AT ALL.!!!!

October 15 2013 at 11:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdbliz's comment
Liz

Do you have to work on Holidays?

October 16 2013 at 8:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

People need to stay home on Thanksgiving... and let Macy's go empty.
What a bunch of idiots.... where do businesses get these stupid leaders.

October 15 2013 at 11:10 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
falcon38a

This is a pure sin. Retailers making employees work on Thanksgiving Day! Wal-Mart, Macy's, etc... should all be ashamed. Thanksgiving is one of the few days families can come together. This is a horrible trend in our country. People need to stay away from stores on Thanksgiving so it makes it hard for them to make it worth their while. I call for people to boycott and not shop on this family day set aside for being thankful!

October 15 2013 at 8:59 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to falcon38a's comment
Liz

if people did not go like fools they would not open

October 16 2013 at 8:21 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
olan5tops

It's these kind of plans that fuel shopping hysteria that cause people to get hurt. It's sad enough that the holiday isn't really a holiday anymore when that is done.

October 15 2013 at 8:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
danipack7

macy's this move is a POS

October 15 2013 at 7:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jayne

Thumbs down. I don't care if you pay homage to that "golden calf" or not. Still thumbs down as far as I'm concerned. This is after all a free society to do pretty much what what damn pleases. Not everything, thank you, but most.

October 15 2013 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pj512

Thanksgiving isn't a religious holiday, so God won't care. And there are a lot of people who either don't have anybody to spend the day with or really would like to get away from the people they are forced to spend the day with. While I have enjoyed most of my life with stores being closed on Thanksgiving, I guess I just have to accept that things are changing. And if they decide to open on Christmas, just remember that we apparently have a lot more aetheists in this country than we used to, so they shouldn't mind working.

October 15 2013 at 5:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pj512's comment
Liz

and my guess for you it is an option to stay home cozy with family. Workers do not have that as an option.

October 16 2013 at 8:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply