Which camp are you in? Shopping on Thanksgiving or not
Patty O'Brien of Mount Prospect is a die-hard Black Friday bargain hunter.
This 76-year-old has kicked off her holiday shopping sprees by scoring such deals as $300 in free merchandise at a sporting goods store and $75 worth of crystal wineglasses for $9. Her thrill of the hunt will continue the day after Thanksgiving, a day when she intends to have the traditional dinner with her family.
"I'll be with my family on Thanksgiving Day," O'Brien said. "And I will study the ads later for Black Friday."
O'Brien is part of a growing group of consumers who are skipping the doorbusters and shopping sprees on Thanksgiving Day to eat turkey and spend time with family.
Many will be shopping, as most of the area's malls, and some big retailers, are launching the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving Day. The trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving started about five years ago to capture sales from shoppers who usually hit the malls on Black Friday.
However, a shift in this habit took a major turn this season when Minnesota's Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping center, decided to close on Thanksgiving this year, after being open for the past several years. Fox Valley Mall in Aurora followed and will not open Thursday. The local mall said that it aims to "help renew the tradition of families spending Thanksgiving together" and to "rekindle the magic of Black Friday as the official start of the holiday shopping season."
The trend to close on Thanksgiving Day is part of an effort called conscious capitalism, said Anne Brower, senior partner at Chicago-based McMillan Doolitte, a retail research firm.
"If you take care of the employees, they take better care of the customers, and that will result in return business and then the shareholders will be happy," Brower said.
But other reasons could underscore the decision to close. The higher sales for the holiday may not cover the extra labor and overhead costs, Brower added.
Von Maur, with stores in Lombard, St. Charles and Glenview, has been closed on Thanksgiving Day for 140 years. They reopen on Black Friday and do not have doorbusters.
"Some other stores found they have to offer huge promotions and incentives and that just slashes profits," said Amy Rotert, Von Maur vice president of stores. "That's not how we operate and it's been a part of our company tradition to let employees off Thanksgiving Day."
Abt will close Thanksgiving and won't tease customers with Black Friday doorbusters that run out quickly.
"There's nothing worse than someone going to a store and they only have three or four of the items and they're sold out and the people are knocking each other over for them," said co-President Jon Abt.
That's good news for avid shoppers like Connie Hofherr of Des Plaines.
"I have a black belt in shopping, and I think stores should be closed on Thanksgiving," Hofherr said. "We have become a society that does not focus on family. There is plenty of time until Christmas to shop."
Closed on Thanksgiving DayA sampling of retailers excepted to be closed on Thanksgiving Day include:
• Abt Electronics
• American Girl
• Barnes & Noble
• Bed Bath & Beyond (select locations)
• Crate and Barrel
• Pier 1 Imports
• Sam's Club
• T.J. Maxx
• Von Maur
Source: BestBlackFriday.com, Daily Herald reporting