Sears’ Thanksgiving Move Isn’t A Surprise

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So Sears has decided to open on Thanksgiving morning this year, from 7 a.m. to noon nationwide, for consumers to beat the Black Friday rush.

I can just see the Thanksgiving newspaper ads from P.C. Richard & Son right now. I’ve not confirmed if it will do it this year, but every year since the mid-1990s the New York chain runs ads in local papers wishing its customers and the general public a happy Thanksgiving, reminding them that the chain will be closed on Thanksgiving so its employees can enjoy the day, wishing those who are working on essential government jobs a happy holiday and taking to task those retailers who are open on this special national holiday saying that they are disrespecting Thanksgiving Day.

The ad began when the now-departed New York metro chain Nobody Beats The Wiz surprised many and decided to open on Thanksgiving.

According to the CNBC.com report that TWICE confirmed with Sears, the chain’s decision to open on Thanksgiving morning would mark the first time it has opened on the holiday in the 85 years it has operated retail locations. Kmart, Sears Holdings’ other chain, has been open on Thanksgiving for two decades.

Sears said in a statement to CNBC the decision was based on “our customers’ desire to shop for great values, to open Sears’ stores on Thanksgiving,” and that is only open in the morning in order to “balance the needs of its customers and its workers.”

Is this decision by Sears an indication of the competitiveness at retail this holiday season? An indication of how bargain- conscious consumers are this year? A hint as to how concerned Sears is about its Q4 performance?

Probably yes to all three.

Jeanette Howe, executive director of Specialty Electronics Nationwide, earlier this year predicted correctly that Black Friday would start in the CE business on Halloween weekend and it did. National and regional chains, as well as online players, have been offering Black Friday-type deals on CE products since Oct. 31.

When you mix in that retailers have major safety and security concerns about the crowds expected for this Black Friday, with some saying that was the reason for earlier Black Friday sales, a decision like Sears to open on Thanksgiving morning shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

It is a sign of the times. Don’t you know of at least one friend or family member who shops online on Thanksgiving Eve or Thanksgiving morning?

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