MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Once upon a time, not so long ago, Thanksgiving was a lazy, leisurely day off for feasting and football. But in 2013 there’s no time for a second helping of turkey and gravy: it’s time to shop.
All over South Florida, malls and stores are opening earlier than ever on Thursday, turning Thanksgiving into a massive holiday shopping day, hours ahead of the traditional Black Friday rush.
Toys “R” Us is opening at 5 p.m., three hours earlier than last year, which was an hour earlier than the year before, which was an hour earlier than the year before that, which was two hours earlier than the year before that, according to our news partners at the Miami Herald.
“We moved it to 5:00 because we felt that was a time that people could have their Thanksgiving dinner, and if they will be out for Black Friday, it allows them to get a start at a good time and have their shopping wrapped up at 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock and be in bed at a normal time,” Troy Rice, Toys “R” Us’s executive vice president for stores and services, told the Herald.
With an uptick in the economy, lower unemployment and tourists pouring into South Florida by the plane load, stores are bracing for Thanksgiving, retail-style.
The holiday season is a critical time for retailers, accounting for up to 40 percent of stores’ annual revenue. The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects an increase of 3.9 percent this year over last year, for a total of $602.1 billion in holiday sales.
Thanks to tourists, Florida retailers’ gains are expected to outpace those of the nation, with a 4.5 percent projected increase this year over last, according to the Florida Retail Federation.
For retail workers and many consumers, early store openings have prompted a backlash from Groups like Organization United for Respect (OUR) Walmart, which represents Walmart employees nationwide.
“I should be able to spend time with my family,” Katie Cunningham told the Herald. She has 17 grandchildren and works at the Walmart in Miami Gardens. “Instead, I have to work from 2 to 11 on Thanksgiving day.”
Cunningham isn’t alone.
A Sears Hometown franchise owner in New Hampshire stood up to her corporate overlords and has refused to open on Thanksgiving.
According to the Consumerist, Sears Hometown are mini stores in small communities, run by franchisees. They’re like an old-fashioned general store where you can buy Craftsman and Kenmore products.
It wasn’t a difficult decision for the store owner to stay open. “We are not going to let corporate retailers rule over our family values and take this away from us,” the Consumerist reported she told a local TV station.
Another revolt the Consumerist reported on involved a Pizza Hut manager who walked off the job rather than open up on Thanksgiving.
So who is right? The conscientious objectors to Brown Thursday or eager retailers trying to maximize profits?
A Visa survey showed that 10 percent of consumers plan to shop on Thanksgiving, while 62 percent of those who said they would not shop that day said they are opposed to shopping on Thanksgiving.
Some malls, including Sawgrass Mills and Dolphin Mall, as well as BrandsMart U.S.A will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Others, like Aventura Mall, Miami International Mall and Dadeland Mall, open at 8 p.m. Macy’s, Target, Sears, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Staples are among the stores that will also open at 8 p.m.
Many malls and stores are staying open all the way through the night until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Others stores that will be open early on Thursday include Kmart, which opens at 6 a.m., and Navarro Pharmacies, which will be open at 8 a.m., with deals starting at 10 p.m., according to our news partners.
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