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‘Open on Thanksgiving’ not good strategy for retailers, expert says

There has been a lot of backlash as of late pertaining to the malls and the big box stores, when it comes to what many are saying is simply corporate greed. Instead of waiting until Black Friday, many stores are now focusing on ramping up their holiday sales to Thanksgiving day, anticipating that they can extend the holiday shopping season (capitalizing on shoppers being off of work for the holiday). But that means that store employees must work on Thanksgiving day – a holiday that traditionally was given to workers so that they may enjoy time with their families before the holiday rush sets in.

Don’t just take my word for it, listen to what Arun Jain, PhD, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research at the UB School of Management has to say.

“It’s a pity that in the richest country in the world, we cannot reserve even a single day for family, and there is a good chance it could backfire with consumer boycotts,” he says. “If retailers wait until Black Friday and offer good incentives, consumers will still come and their shopping lists will still be warm. And shoppers will be greeted by happy employees who were able to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones instead of being forced to work. Happier sales people are more helpful sales people, which leads to higher sales and a more positive evaluation of the store by consumers. This is an opportunity for retailers to say what they stand for and that they respect workers, their families and this uniquely American tradition. It would be more effective for malls to take out a full-page ad announcing their intention to remain closed on Thanksgiving with photos of the employees of their stores.”

In response to the Galleria Mall demanding that stores be open on Thanksgiving day, a grassroots boycott initiative has been launched on Facebook, and already has the support of 1.5 thousand people (see here). You can read all about the Galleria Mall’s threats to fine stores that refuse to open on Thanksgiving day in this article in the Huffington Post. According to HP, the Galleria is claiming that it needs to keep up with the big box stores, and fines could be as steep as $200 an hour, for shops within the mall that refuse to open in accordance with their leases.

A couple of local grassroots activists, Laura and Rebecca Masters, have started an Indiegogo campaign, intended to raise funds for the procurement and delivery of coffee to workers who get stuck at the mall on Thanksgiving day (see here).

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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