Furniture Biz 101

Jim Green's blog

Black Thursday

December 10, 2013

I remember a time when pretty much all stores of any kind, in any retail segment, save perhaps some restaurants and gas stations were closed on Sundays and all holidays. Gradually, some retailers opened their doors on Sundays; then New Years Day became just another retail selling day along with other more secular holidays; excuses for sales to begin. Soon the only days sacred to retailers were Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Now, Thanksgiving Day has become a day for business. In the area in which I live, not only were the big box stores opened at varying hours, but several furniture stores were, too. Opening the doors at 12 Midnight on Thanksgiving...really? 

The reality was that the sales made on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day were at the expense of sales on Black Friday. According to the Tampa Bay Times, "Retailers were pretty successful in drawing the consumers into the stores on Thursday. (But) Thursday's sales came at the expense of Black Friday's numbers." To me, not a shocking revelation. Retailers tend to advertise their Thanksgiving specials in the newspapers on Thanksgiving Day. Will the consumer not wait till the next day if they see an item they like or a marketing concept that is intriguing. I understand trying to get a jump on the competition. This seems to be the only reason for retailers to make this decision. But is this really effective. I have to think that many consumers just will not come out and shop Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday was still biggest sales day of the weekend by far. Haven't any door busters or special buys that were offered on Thursday been wasted on the folks that waited until Friday? 

At the risk of sounding like a bleeding heart, don't these retailers care at all about their employees. One day for workers to give thanks with family and friends for all the myriad blessings we enjoy. My nephew works at Toys R Us. He had to work. He could not join the family to celebrate the day. He had to be content with a warmed over turkey dinner at 10 at night on a paper plate his mom brought home for him. I wonder just how many retail furniture executives, for that matter how many store general managers were in the stores working on Thanksgiving Day alongside their employees; and how many were able to enjoy their Thanksgiving with family and friends.

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