A Nordstrom department store in Santa Monica, Calif., displays a sign in its window explaining why the retailer is bucking the national trend to open on Thanksgiving.
(Photo: Patrick T. Fallon, Bloomberg)
Thanksgiving is a day for: A) Eating turkey. B) Shopping.
If your answer is "A," there are still some national retailers who agree - and are bragging about being closed on Turkey Day. They say it's what employees and many customers want. Among them: Nordstrom, Dillard's, Home Depot, Costco, BJs, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross stores.
Never mind that much of the big news this holiday season has been about major retailers, from Walmart to Target to the newest entrant, Macy's, announcing their Thanksgiving Day shopping hours.
While it can hurt the bottom line for one day, staying closed on Thanksgiving can be a big plus, too. "I appreciate brands that make the gutsy decision to defer some revenue and stay closed," says brand guru Erika Napoletano. "They're celebrating their most important asset - their employees."
It has yet to be proven that the majority of shoppers "really want and need" stores to be open on Thanksgiving, says Sharon Love, a retail consultant. Last year, 35 million Americans visited stores or websites on Thanksgiving vs. 89 million on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.
Families often like to do more than just eat on Thanksgiving, the trade group points out. "Some go to movies. Some go bowling. Some go to football games or to restaurants," says Bill Thorne, senior vice president. To say that employees at these venues should work but that retail workers shouldn't "doesn't make a whole lot of sense," he adds.
But staying closed on Thanksgiving makes perfect sense to Nordstrom, which has done just that since 1901.
"Our customers appreciate us taking this approach," says spokesman Colin Johnson. He adds that no holiday decorations go up until the store reopens on Black Friday.
Dillard's also will keep all 299 stores closed on Thanksgiving Day "to honor our associates with their family time," says spokeswoman Julie Johnson Bull.
Home Depot will keep its nearly 2,000 stores closed, in part, because "this isn't our make-or-break season like it is for many retailers," says spokesman Stephen Holmes.
TJX, which owns the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls brands, also will stay dark on Thanksgiving. "We feel so strongly about our employees spending Thanksgiving with their families," says spokeswoman Doreen Thompson. "And we don't anticipate this changing in the future."
Nor does Costco, says spokesman Bob Nelson. "We feel no pressure to open on Thanksgiving Day this year, or in subsequent years."
What about Nordstrom?
"We'll keep looking and listening to our customers," says Johnson. "They'll tell us what to do."