GameStop to Buck Retail Trend by Closing for Thanksgiving

Video game retailer GameStop recently announced that their doors would remain closed on Thanksgiving Day in 2015. The decision is an attempt to reverse a retail trend in recent years known as the ‘Black Friday creep,’ in which stores would open earlier and earlier on Black Friday (the biggest shopping day of the year and the first day of the holiday selling season). According to retail statistics from 2011, Black Friday alone resulted in nearly $12 billion in sales. Retail chains then began opening to the public to Black Friday bargain hunters on Thanksgiving Day, cutting into employees’ time with family and friends and adding to the stress of overworked associates.

“We believe strongly that our customers and associates should have the opportunity to spend the Thanksgiving holiday relaxing with family and friends, and not worrying with the stress of where to find the best shopping deals. We know this is in stark contrast to what many other retailers are doing, but we are taking a stance to protect family time during this important holiday,” said Mike Buskey, executive vice president and president of U.S. stores. “For our customers who want to do a little shopping on Thanksgiving Day, and will be open all day and taking orders.”

GameStop isn’t the only retail store to announce that it will stay closed on November 26: office-supply store Staples said in an Oct. 1 press release that they would not open on Thanksgiving, either. In some ways, the decision may not be an entirely charitable one: staying closed on Thanksgiving saves retailers from having to pay employees holiday wages, and many merchants may not generate enough in extra sales that day to justify the expense. This is especially true for specialty retailers like GameStop and Staples, for whom doorbuster deals may not be as appealing to consumers as those at big-box stores in direct competition with e-commerce channels, like Amazon. What do you think? Should the retail industry embrace “Gray Thursday” hours?

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