The backlash against Thanksgiving Day sales events continues.
Just days after Staples announced it would remain closed on the national holiday, GameStop also reportedly told its employees to take the day off.
“We believe strongly that our customers and associates should have the opportunity to spend the Thanksgiving holiday relaxing with family and friends,” U.S. stores president Mike Buskey said in a statement posted by ThinkProgress.org. “We know this is in stark contrast to what many other retailers are doing, but we are taking a stance to protect family time during this important holiday.”
The policy, which extends to GameStop’s Spring Mobile, Simply Mac, Cricket Wireless and ThinkGeek chains, has been in place for at least the past three years, and has been shared by other national and regional retailers including Barnes & Noble, Costco, P.C. Richard & Son, The Home Depot and Lowe’s.
But a growing number of merchants feel compelled to open on Thanksgiving in response to consumer demand and revenue-conscious shareholders. hgregg, for example, lamented its decision to stay closed in 2013. “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,” president/CEO Dennis May said on a 2014 conference call.
Ex-RadioShack CEO Joe Magnaca similarly explained in a memo to employees last year that staying closed on the previous Thanksgiving resulted in “disappointing sales for RadioShack, not just on that day but for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, due to non-competitive operating hours.”
Phil Dengler, co-founder of BestBlackFriday.com, expects GameStop to compensate for its holiday closure through digitally-downloaded purchases, and believes it can make up for lost time “with better bundles and lower tech-item prices than competitors” on Black Friday.
But Best Buy, in announcing its own 5 p.m. opening on Turkey Day 2014, said it’s all about keeping the customer satisfied.
“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,” the company said. “In recent years, millions of Americans have shopped on Thanksgiving” — and you gotta be in it to win it.