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More retailers open on Thanksgiving to mixed reviews

Posted: November 23, 2013 2:35 p.m.
Updated: November 23, 2013 2:35 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - In the drive to ensure robust holiday sales, more and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving as anxious retailers hope to make their revenue targets for the year.

Economists and consumer advocates call it “holiday creep,” It delights some shoppers and angers others.

On Thanksgiving this year, Macy’s, JCPenney, Toys R Us, Target and Kohl’s will be joining the usual list of suspects like Walmart and Best Buy opening on the holiday. The Gap, which owns Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, is opening half of its stores on Thanksgiving morning.

Kmart is holding a 41-hour marathon that starts at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Even Staples is opening for those shoppers in desperate need of office supplies.

Westfield Valencia Town Center is opening on the holiday this year, as well.

Several retailers at the mall are opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, including many of the national brand stores, said a spokesman for the retail shopping center.

Not all stores will open at that time, though. The mall officially opens at midnight for all of its retailers.

A handful of local independent retailers surveyed, however, said they are resisting the temptation to open on Thanksgiving to preserve the holiday for families.

Advantage or not?
Retailers say opening earlier gives them a chance to be the first to get shoppers’ dollars. For many, sales made during the last two months of the year make up as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue.

But it’s not clear if opening on Thanksgiving is any real boost to the stores’ revenue. Retailers may be making sales one day earlier, but not making more money.

Last year, according to The Associated Press, business dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on so-called Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and not too long ago the official kick-of for Christmas shopping.

Consumer complaints
Some consumers are angered about holiday creep, and some workers at retail stores have complained about losing their family holidays.

In a “holiday creep” survey conducted on The Signal's Facebook page, most readers said they opposed the practice.

“It’s just stupid. Can’t we have one holiday that stores are closed to let their employees be with their families?” said Alan Zada. “It stinks that it’s all about money.”

Of the 41 readers who responded to the survey, only three admitted they would go Thanksgiving shopping.

Other shoppers, like Zada, criticized the practice, saying the holiday is a time to reflect and spend with family.

Locals who said they would be shopping on the holiday said they hoped getting an early start would “cut down on the stampede on Black Friday.” But they said they were also hoping employees who have to work on that day are offered some kind of incentive, like extra pay.

Mall opening
“Given the enthusiasm for earlier and earlier openings the past few years, Westfield (Valencia Town Center) welcomes the opportunity to accommodate this demand and support our retailers and customers looking to get a jump on Black Friday shopping,” a Westfield spokesman said of the 8 p.m. openings there.

Opening on the holiday, however, doesn’t work for all retailers at the mall, he said. In those cases, the shopping center grants exceptions rather than force a small shop to open.

It’s pretty standard for malls to open early, said the manager at Lush Handmade Cosmetics in the Valencia mall. But the retailers were given an option to open later at midnight — and retailers had other options, as well, she said.

Stores remain closed
Most locally owned companies said they would be closed on Thanksgiving.

“We’re not opening because it’s a holiday and we’re letting our families have the day off to spend the day with their families,” said Mary Moser, co-owner of Consumers Furniture in the Centre Pointe retail area.

Classic Designs Jewelry will also remain closed, although it’s in the same shopping center where anchor store Kohl’s will open early, said owner Apo Yessayan.

“Sometimes we forget what Thanksgiving means,” he said. “It’s a time to be thankful for what you’ve got.”

Luscious Soul in downtown Newhall will be closed, as well, said owner Kelly Philipson. She’s not aware of any other retailers in the area opening early.

And Cobblestone Cottage in Valencia, located in the center anchored by Target, will be closed too.

Even some auto centers — like the Ontario Auto Center — are open on Thanksgiving this year.

But Dan Sterkel with the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association and general manager of Nissan of Valencia, said his dealership will not be open Thursday, and he isn’t aware of any other dealers opening on the holiday.

Sterkel said he has worked with other auto groups that chose to open on Thanksgiving, but he doesn’t see the benefit.
“The loss of family time to employees is far worse than any gain in auto sales,” he said.




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