Several Western Pa. malls to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving
By Thomas Olson
Published: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 10:18 a.m.
Bargain hunters can get a jump on Black Friday shopping this year by hitting the malls on Thanksgiving evening.
Several malls in the Pittsburgh region and across the country are joining a growing trend, kicking off the holiday shopping season earlier — at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving before some people have finished celebrating the holiday.
The decision to open on Thanksgiving — earlier than the traditional midnight start to Black Friday shopping — will provide jittery retailers a wider window to make money but has spurred some criticism.
“We're in a hyper-competitive retail environment,” Renato Scaff, managing director of the retail practice for Accenture, a global management consulting firm. “No retailer wants to be sitting after the holiday with excess inventory they have to write down.”
Area malls opening early include South Hills Village, the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, Ross Park Mall and Monroeville Mall. They join malls such as Mall of America, the giant complex of 520 stores in Bloomington, Minn., that are providing four early hours of shopping.
“Years ago, when we went to a midnight opening, we didn't think it would work. And then we saw the crowds show up,” said Jerry Crites, general manager of Pittsburgh Mills in Frazer, a retail complex that includes the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills.
The mall will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, four hours earlier than last year. Crites said about half the roughly 160 stores there will open at 8 p.m., while the other half will stick with midnight openings.
The industry calls the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday” because it kicks off the holiday shopping season, whose revenue volume often determines whether a retailer will be profitable, or “in the black,” for the year. Because Thanksgiving falls late this year, there are six fewer holiday shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The holiday season generally accounts for between 20 percent and 40 percent of a retailers' annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
The trade group projects November-December holiday retail sales will increase 3.9 percent this year to $602 billion. That compares with a 3.5 percent rise in 2012 and a 10-year average annual increase of 3.3 percent.
More shoppers plan to hit the stores this Black Friday than in previous years. According to a survey by Accenture, 55 percent of consumers said they will shop on Black Friday. That's an increase from 53 percent last year, and well up from 44 percent in 2011.
“As retailers open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving, people presumably will hit a point where they say, ‘That's too early. It will encroach on my Thanksgiving family activities,' ” Scaff said. “But so far, we haven't seen that.”
Several big, national chains plan to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The roster includes JC Penney, Kohl's, Target, Macy's, OfficeMax and others. Toys “R” Us will open at 5 p.m. At the extreme end, Kmart plans to open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 41 hours.
“Every retailer is just trying to grab a little advantage by opening earlier. If they compound that with promotions, then sales will be strong,” said Bill Bishop, co-founder of Brick Meets Click, a retail research firm in Barrington, Ill.
Not all major retailers are opening earlier this year. Nordstrom, Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club decided to remain closed on the holiday.
The Mall at Robinson will leave its opening at midnight in line with its tenants' wishes, said marketing director Shema Krinsky.
“We got a mixed response. Some wanted us to open at 8 p.m., but most wanted to stick to tradition,” Krinsky said.
Another bucking the early-opening trend is SAS Shoes. Its store at Tanger Outlet Center is one of the few at the Washington, Pa., complex not opening when Tanger opens at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, said Jodi Dague, the center's general manager. SAS Shoes will open 9 a.m. the next day. Store officials could not be reached.
Tanger Outlet, which has about 80 stores, moved its Black Friday opening to 10 p.m. in 2011 from midnight previous years and “saw huge crowds” turn out, Dague said. Mall managers decided earlier this year to leave this year's opening at 10 p.m.
Ross Park Mall, which has about 150 stores, will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, versus midnight last year, as none of its 150 stores objected to opening early, mall manager Lisa Earl said.
“There's so many different shopping options in this day and age,” Earl said. “The more opportunities we can give customers, the better they are served, and the better off we are as mall operators and retailers.”
Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached a 412-320-7854 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Municipal bonds do another about-face
- Achieving proper credit balance
- Regular or Roth? Pick either
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Harsh winter sets back Western Pa. maple harvest
- Real estate goes techno
- CVS suit could be test case
- ‘Boomerang’ buyers get another chance at homeownership
- Diaper makers do due diligence
- Lab develops sponges for oil spill cleanup
- Prepaid cards start to elbow aside bank accounts