AP Kmart (SHLD) announced Monday that it will once again kick off its “Black Friday” at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and keep its stores open for 41 straight hours.
Opening on Thanksgiving has become this norm among many retailers this year, but most are choosing to do so late in the evening, usually around 8 p.m. As we’ve pointed out, this makes some sense for shoppers, who can wait until after Thanksgiving dinner to hit the mall (and then be back home to get to sleep at a reasonable hour).
But Kmart has never bought into the notion that Thanksgiving should be dedicated to food and family. This won’t be the first time it’s opened its doors to shoppers on the morning of Thanksgiving, but this year it will go a step further by keeping them open until late Friday night. That’s a 41-hour marathon of shopping that it clearly hopes will give it a bigger slice of the Black Friday sales pie.
(Kmart isn’t alone in this, to be fair — Walmart (WMT) keeps many of its 24-hour stores open throughout Thanksgiving and Black Friday, avoiding the “doorbuster” crushes by putting some sale items aside until the designated hour.)
We can see where a few shoppers might happily take advantage of the early-morning opening — you could head to the mall after sticking your turkey in the oven, for instance, or stop at a Kmart on the way to your cousins’ place. But we’re guessing that most people will respond negatively to the notion of a national holiday being entirely turned over to commerce.
And that’s to say nothing of the Kmart employees who will staff the stores during hours when most people would prefer to be at home with their families eating turkey. Kmart emphasized in its announcement that “Stores are staffed with seasonal associates and those who have volunteered to work.” But as a general rule, non-unionized retail employees don’t really have a choice in the matter about working a holiday shift if there aren’t enough volunteers.