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Orange (Thanksgiving) Is The New Black (Friday)

NEW YORK — Dealers are getting down to business earlier than ever this holiday season.

Spurred on by early ad leaks and a bid for first dibs on disposable dollars, antsy retailers have essentially moved Black Friday up by a day, forcing consumers to decide between doorbusters and drumsticks.

The Thankgiving Day openings fly in the face of a growing backlash by consumers and sales associates. Indeed, a recent survey by customer analytics consultancy LoyaltyOne showed that fully half of all U.S. shoppers believe all-day shopping hours on Thanksgiving Day are a bad idea that detracts from the traditional celebration.

A diminishing list of retailers including Barnes & Noble, Costco, Game- Stop, P.C. Richard & Son, The Home Depot and Lowe’s also feel the family holiday should remain sacrosanct.

RadioShack wrestled with the issue last week after it broke with tradition and announced 8 a.m. to midnight hours on Thanksgiving. The employee outcry was immediate and loud, prompting the retailer to provide a five-hour, midday reprieve so workers could spend at least some of the holiday with their families.

In an employee memo obtained by Bloomberg News, RadioShack CEO Joe Magnaca explained that staying closed on Thanksgiving last year resulted in lost sales and a competitive disadvantage that carried through the entire holiday weekend – a scenario the troubled chain cannot afford to repeat.

hhgregg also lamented its decision last year to limit its Thanksgiving schedule. “We did not have the right holiday hours last year, and that impacted not only our Black Friday period but kind of sets the stage to the holiday season,” said president/CEO Dennis May on a recent earnings call.

Best Buy, in announcing its own 5 p.m. opening on national turkey day, said it all comes down to giving the customer what he wants:

“While we recognize the decision to open on Thanksgiving affects Best Buy employees, customers have made it clear that many of them want to begin shopping on Thanksgiving evening.”

“In recent years, millions of Americans have shopped on Thanksgiving,” the retailer said – and you gotta be in it to win it.