- (Photo: Reuters/Keith Bedford)
In the build up to the holiday shopping season, several national retailers have revealed that they will be opening at some point during Thanksgiving Day, much to the chagrin to many holiday shoppers.
The nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart revealed that they would be kicking off their Black Friday at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than they did last year. Some of the big ticket items include tablets, flat screens and home entertainment systems.
The move for the national largest retailers to open early and stay open late comes after less-than-stellar consumer confidence reports ahead of the holiday shopping season. It was also in part due to a calendar quirk that will see this holiday season lose six shopping days, according to a recent report from Adobe Digital Marketing.
A recent survey, from financial consulting firm BDO, concluded that retailers expect a 2.5 percent increase in holiday sales at stores a year, which is far more pessimistic than last year's predictions.
"We're seeing retailers enter the holiday season with realistic, rather than optimistic, expectations," said Doug Hart, partner in BDO's retail division, in a statement.
Roughly 1 million Wal-Mart employees will be in stores in Thanksgiving and to stymie any negative reaction from customers or employees, Wal-Mart announced that it will treat employees to a "a nice Thanksgiving dinner at work" in addition to providing holiday pay. Employees will also be granted a 25 percent discount on one purchase regardless of the quantity of items.
Wal-Mart isn't the only store opening earlier this year. Toys 'R Us will be opening at 5 p.m., which is three hours earlier than last year. Macy's, Kohl's, J.C. Penney and Sears will kick off their Black Friday at 8 p.m.
But Kmart has outdone all others and will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will stay open for 40 straight hours. The move has prompted consumers to post negative comments on the company's social media accounts as well as holiday message boards.
Kmart officials decided to open the stores earlier this year after customer feedback indicated shoppers wanted more flexible shopping hours during the holiday.
"Kmart has been a destination for early-bird shopping and last-minute entertaining needs on Thanksgiving Day for 22 years," Kmart spokeswoman Shanelle Armstrong wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. "We staff with teams & seasonal associates when possible, giving them the opportunity to make extra money during holiday."