The Mall of Georgia will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. (Staff Photo: Jason Braverman)
While many people will spend Thanksgiving Day with friends and family, many others will be trying to get a head start on Black Friday by heading to the mall and other retail centers.
In Gwinnett, all three malls — Mall of Georgia, Sugarloaf Mills and Gwinnett Place Mall — will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27. Though the Mall of Georgia and Sugarloaf Mills will close at 1 a.m. and reopen at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, Gwinnett Place Mall, whose anchor stores include Sears, Macy’s and Mega Mart, will remain open until 9 p.m. on Black Friday.
Big box retailers including Kohl’s, Target and Walmart also plan to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
“Black Friday is no longer about waking up at the crack of dawn to stand in long lines and hope for the best,” said Walmart’s chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton according to a press release. “At Walmart, it has become a family shopping tradition where everyone shops at some point throughout the weekend.”
Electronics retailer Best Buy will begin sales at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
“While we recognize the decision to open on Thanksgiving affects Best Buy employees, customers have made it clear that many of them want to begin shopping on Thanksgiving evening,” a Nov. 11 post on the Best Buy website stated. “In recent years, millions of Americans have shopped on Thanksgiving, and our store associates are excited and prepared to help customers fulfill their holiday wish lists.”
Kmart, which has opened on Thanksgiving for 23 years, plans to beat other big box retailers by several hours by opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remaining open until midnight on Black Friday.
“This holiday season is all about giving more to our members and because many like to start shopping well before Black Friday, we’re excited to open our doors early on Thanksgiving and offer other early access opportunities for them to shop and save,” said Leena Munjal, senior vice president of Sears Holdings, K-Mart’s parent company, in a released statement.
Market research shows consumer support for Thanksgiving Day holiday hours. A holiday shopping survey conducted by consulting firm Accenture indicated the number of people who plan to shop on Thanksgiving has increased to 45 percent from 38 percent in 2013. Nearly half — 47 percent — plan to shop in a physical store between 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
Not every major retailer, however, is taking part in the Thanksgiving shopping event — at least not in their physical stores. Those opting to remain closed include Barnes and Noble, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Publix, Hobby Lobby and Academy Sports, but several will offer early Black Friday deals online on Thanksgiving Day.
“As a family-oriented store, it is important for our associates to be able to spend the holiday with family,” said Academy Sports CEO Rodney Faldyn in a Nov. 5 released statement. “Customers who want to shop our Black Friday Hot Deals early can do so on academy.com from the convenience of their home on Thanksgiving Day, or visit their local store when we open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.”
Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are part of the five-day Thanksgiving holiday shopping period during which retailers traditionally offer numerous in-store and online deals as part of an effort to increase sales. The period is considered to be the kickoff for the holiday shopping season which, according to the National Retail Federation, can account for up to 30 percent of retailers’ annual sales.