Toys R Us' 30-hour spree defies backlash to being open on Thanksgiving

One of the nation's leading toy superstore chains is planning a post-Thanksgiving shopping marathon that may force rivals to rethink their holiday plans.

Shoppers will be able to head straight from the Thanksgiving dinner table to Toys R Us where it will unlock its doors at 5 p.m. and keep them open for 30 hours straight.

The toy retailer says that once stores open, most of its stores won’t close until 11 p.m. on Black Friday. The move shows that while a small group of malls and retailers are staying shut, citing concerns about employee morale and diluted sales, the trend to kick off the holiday shopping frenzy right after the Thanksgiving dishes are cleared is not fading away.

“Our customers have voted at the doors year after year, and they continue to want the option to get an early start on their holiday shopping lists,” Joe Venezia, executive vice president, global store operations, for Toys R Us, said in a statement.

Black Friday was traditionally the day reserved for so-called "doorbuster" specials, deep discounts on popular items designed to build store traffic early in the day. But Walmart has been flinging the doors open on Thanksgiving since 1988, and in recent years, a growing number of retailers have followed suit.

This year, Macy's, will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than it did in 2015.  And Kohl’s will open on the holiday at 6 p.m.

Still, there has been some backlash. BestBlackFriday.com, which highlights bargains, found in a recent poll that 54.6% of those surveyed didn’t like or strongly disliked retailers being open on Thanksgiving, and 60.2% said that they would not shop on that day. And according to RetailNext, an analytic solutions provider, in store Thanksgiving Day net sales last year were down 7% from 2014, while traffic slipped 0.7%.

Some malls and retailers are now choosing to stay shut, partly to give their employees the holiday off -- and sow some good will with shoppers who have soured on the practice -- but also because Thanksgiving had started to steal some of Black Friday’s thunder, with no bump in overall sales to show for it.

Electronics and appliance chain hhgregg began opening on Thanksgiving in 2012, but this year it will be giving employees at its 220 stores the holiday off. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. says that it will close on Thanksgiving. and CBL & Associates Properties Inc. is shuttering 72 of its 89 malls after being open on the holiday the last three years. However, some stores in those centers, as well as in the Mall of America,  can make their own decisions about whether or not to open.

Contributing: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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