It's that time of year again, when the debate over whether stores should be open or closed on Thanksgiving starts to reach a fever pitch. This year, more stores are taking a stand by deciding to close on the holiday.
On Monday, sporting goods and outdoor retailer REI announced that it plans to close not only on Thanksgiving, but on Black Friday as well. But don't worry -- its 12,000 employees will get paid for both days.
Black Friday has typically kicked off the holiday retail shopping season, but in recent years, big chains have been enticing consumers with sales starting even on Thanksgiving.
Labor groups have pushed back on big chains forcing employees to come in for the holiday, while consumer groups have called for shoppers to boycott going out on Thanksgiving.
And stores have started to answer -- though likely more because the strategy of opening on Thanksgiving doesn't add to the bottom line, rather than for workers' morale. Indeed, retailers are finding that being open on Thanksgiving isn't necessarily boosting holiday sales, but rather that Thursday's sales are simply coming at the expense of those on Black Friday. This could be troublesome for retailers, especially as the debate over raising the minimum wage rolls on.
"A few years ago virtually no retailers (other than drug stores and supermarkets) were open on Thanksgiving. This started to shift during the recession as retailers looked to gain an edge on the competition in a barely growing market," wrote Steven Dennis, president and founder of SageBerry Consulting, a retail consulting firm in Dallas, in an email.
"What we're seeing now is a pullback from the strategy owing to a) analysis that shows that move was often not profitable, b) backlash from consumers and c) backlash from employees," Dennis added.
The shift to close on Thanksgiving is also a nod to the increasing shift to online sales.
"In an omnichannel world, retailers can satiate consumers that have to shop with their e-commerce sites, and thus return to more traditional and sane hours," says retail expert Marie Driscoll of Driscoll Advisors. "While we aren't expecting more announcements of Black Friday closings, additional closures on Thanksgiving are possible and would be a welcome change to the day."
Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 26 this year. Here are 10 stores that plan to keep their doors closed this Thanksgiving.
Read more at The Street.