A time-honored holiday will soon be upon us, where many families gather together to spend time with each other to focus on what’s really important to them. No, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving; not in our consumer-driven society. Black Friday is almost here.
Personally, if I want to take advantage of the Black Friday deals, I will hop online instead of dealing with the stores. And apparently so would a lot of other people, which gives the brick-and-mortar stores cause for concern. So, many big-name stores like Target, Kohl’s and Macy’s will be opening at midnight Thanksgiving night (while Wal-Mart deals will start at 10 p.m.).
This has created a bit of an issue with many store employees and holiday traditionalists. Opening the stores earlier means that many store employees may have to forgo time with their families and friends. One Target employee has created an online petition asking Target to return to their Black Friday hours of years past so he doesn’t have to sleep through his Thanksgiving dinner.
Is opening early on Thanksgiving a smart idea? What does it say about the brand itself? That getting that extra sale is more important than time with family? Obviously that is fine in the short term, but what about the long term? How can it affect the way that consumers will look at the brand once the holidays are over?
Many CEOs are saying they are “forced” to open earlier to keep up with their competition. However, Sears is refusing to follow the trend and will keep their Black Friday hours at 4 a.m. This is definitely the right thing to do and shows that Sears is still listening to its consumers, but will it hurt them? Sears is struggling enough already in the economy, and this could cause consumers to instead go somewhere else to get those deals at 12:30 Friday morning.
Do you think the earlier Black Friday hours give a negative brand image to some of the big stores? Is Sears showing strong brand integrity? Could it cost them big-time?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
-Angie Ahumada, Account Management Intern