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pg-08-hj_november_2016Thanksgiving – a day of great feasting, great traditions and great football. It also kicks off the holiday season for American retailers with that other tradition – shopping for bargains starting on Thanksgiving night. Philadelphia coined the term ‘Black Friday’ in the 1960s after the mayhem and traffic jams caused by bargain hunters.

BY LISA KINDEL

According to CNBC and the National Retail Federation, shoppers on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday 2015 spent an average of $300 per purchase in-store and online including TVs, computers and other big-ticket items ahead of the holiday season. Shoppers in 2015 saw a few less stores  open on Thanksgiving Day but the major big box stores such as Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and others opened late afternoon to give employees time to eat turkey before facing bargain hunters and fisticuffs.

Black Friday 2015 also saw fighting at several Walmarts nationwide on Thursday night. There was a large brawl at the Mall at St. Matthews in Louisville over the last pair of Nike Air Jordans. Fight videos and compilation fight videos appeared on YouTube and social media overnight.

After a years-long trend in stores opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving, in 2016 the tide appears to be changing. Many stores have announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Mall of America appears to be the first out of the gate by making the closure announcement on Oct. 5. Several large retailers following suit.

In Lexington, Fayette Mall announced Oct. 12 the mall would be closed for the first time in years for the holiday.

According to the Fayette Mall website, Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL & Associates, the owners of Fayette Mall, announced the Thanksgiving closure

“We want you to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends and come fresh and excited to spend Black Friday with us,” Lebovitz  said in a statement.

This year, the mall will reopen at 6 a.m. on Black Friday with the lighting of the Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season.

In the Oct. 13 edition of the Wall Street Journal, HH Gregg CEO Robert Reisbeck said, “The more and more we encroached on that holiday, I don’t know that we got a lot of benefit out of it.”

With the bargains spread over the Thanksgiving weekend instead of just Black Friday, retailers noticed the lack of sales over the past few years and didn’t open this Thanksgiving because of the shifting return on investment. Retail consulting firm Drummers Limited noticed the sales drop off in 2014 when more stores opened on Thanksgiving Day and spread deals and shopping hours instead of one concentrated day of sales and bargains.

Then there’s the Internet. Why leave the house and all that football to battle crowds and traffic when shoppers can get better bargains with just the click of the mouse? USA Today and software leader Adobe gave results on early online shopping on Nov. 27, 2015, with over $1 billion in sales online from midnight to 5:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Online giant Amazon.com saw an uptick in sales by 28.9 percent, thanks to starting deals the Friday before Thanksgiving and adding more bargains and sales throughout the week in the lead up to Black Friday with even deeper deals on electronics and other big-ticket items.

Donna Doyle at Dealnews.com predicts these five online retailers will rank highest in sales this Thanksgiving sales weekend: Amazon.com, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and newcomer NewEgg.com. Amazon.com offers deals with Amazon Prime memberships, Target will capitalize on gift card bundles, NewEgg offers freebies with mail-in rebates on computer gadgets, and Best Buy releases its sales early in print and online for those who like to plan their Black Friday ahead of time. Target and Walmart offered similar deals online to keep up. Target.com hiccupped in the CyberMonday war after the website went on hold from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. due to overwhelming traffic numbers. Online shopping convenience interrupted retailers foot traffic but did not deter sales. However, online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday averaged less than in-store shopping.

For in-store shopping bargain trends, American Eagle ranks high for its millennial fashion bargains on Black Friday and after, according to blackfriday.com. The site also offers information on Black Friday ad drops beginning as early as first week of November. The slow build of anticipation makes the shopper salivate throughout the season as the ads and sales times appear. Blackfriday.com says “We believe this [Black Friday sales times] will be one of the main highlights of Black Friday 2016: earlier Black Friday sale times. Kohl’s has taken their competition by storm in recent years by beginning their Black Friday sale online starting on the Monday before Black Friday.”

With Black Friday fast approaching, here are the stores closed on Thanksgiving Day in Hamburg: Barnes and Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Burlington, Costco, Gamestop, HH Gregg, Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Marshalls, PetSmart, Pier 1 Imports, Staples and TJ Maxx

Walgreens stays open 24/7 on Pink Pigeon Parkway. Kroger on Richmond Road will stay open until 5pm Thanksgiving Day. According to Bfad.net, Meijer stays true to last year’s three-day approach with separate sales on each day, including Thursday. Old Navy management confirmed opening at 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.  Currently, websites Blackfriday.com and Dealnews.com both list hours for the major retailers in Hamburg but lack confirmations from corporate. Speculated Thanksgiving hours for Michael’s, Target, Macys, Walmart, Best Buy and Kohl’s stay ‘rumored’ as same as last year’s hours.

Of course, for a kinder, gentler shopping experience in Hamburg, stop by My Favorite Things on Old Rosebud where doors open at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25 and extended hours throughout Thanksgiving weekend.

So, whether you enjoy your Thanksgiving with shopping or without, bargains abound in and around Hamburg. To watch the sales roll out, check these sites online for previews and ads: www.blackfriday.com, www.dealnews.com and www.theblackfriday.com.

This article also appears on page 8 of the November 2016 printed edition of the Hamburg Journal. For more Hamburg area news, subscribe to the Hamburg Journal weekly digital newsletter.

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