Big and small retailers alike will open to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day, continuing the nation’s earlier and earlier jump on Black Friday shopping each year.
Every store inside Crossgates Mall opened at midnight on Black Friday last year. This year, every anchor store and nearly every other retailer in the mall will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Best Buy will open at 6 p.m.
“The fact that nationwide, Walmart and Target and other anchor stores have decided to open at 8 p.m. has made our stores reevaluate what they want to do because they know that the traffic will be here at that time and they don’t want to miss out,” said Crossgates Marketing Director Jen Smith. “They look at it as being worth it.”
As of Friday, Crossgates officials said these retailers would be open on Thanksgiving: JC Penney, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, The Children’s Place, Claire’s, Express, f.y.e., Hollister, Wet Seal, PacSun, Charlotte Russe, Aeropostale, New York & Company, Solstice, Gap, Bath & Body Works, Hallmark, Spencer’s, Shoe Dept. Encore, Delia’s, Toys R Us Express, Old Navy, The Walking Company, Journeys and Against All Odds.
“They’re coming in by the hour,” said Smith. “Some of these will be staggered, and the entire mall will be open by midnight. But there are very few exceptions of stores that won’t already be open by midnight.”
The situation is much the same at the Rotterdam and Wilton malls. Once the anchor stores decided to open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving, smaller stores wanted to follow suit, said Mike Shaffer, who manages both malls.
“We’re updating our list on our website as we get them,” he said Friday. “Many of the retailers have made a decision within just the last couple of days. I don’t recall any of the smaller stores being open last year, but they have decided to join the anchor stores this year in opening their doors at 8 p.m. I think they want to be part of a business opportunity, and it’s their decision to open.”
As of Friday, Wilton Mall retailers that will open on Thanksgiving include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sears, JC Penney, Bon-Ton, Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret, Game X Change, Spencer’s, The Children’s Place, Payless ShoeSource, Aeropostale, Maurices, American Eagle, Shoe Dept. Encore, and Lily and David Fine Jewelers.
Rotterdam Square retailers planning to open on Thanksgiving include Macy’s, Sears, Victoria’s Secret, Aeropostale, Spencer’s, Yankee Candle and Rue 21. Kmart shoppers will get the earliest jump on holiday deals: The retailer will open at 6 a.m. on the holiday.
Anyone who frequents social media know these earlier and earlier Black Friday openings have generated a spirited debate on consumerism run rampant and society’s failings. Critics have blasted these stores for cutting into the spirit of Thanksgiving, which has traditionally been about spending time with family and giving thanks.
But for all that criticism, Americans continue to line up at increasingly odd hours for “the biggest, earliest sales” of the holiday season, said George Bizer, a professor of psychology at Union College. And he believes it has to do with more than just good deals.
“There is no question that people will show up to stores on Thanksgiving,” he said. “I think it started with these deep discounts, but this has now become a part of our culture, and the reason for that is, some very, very intelligent, well-paid people have figured out how to capitalize on the power of persuasion. A generation ago, this would have been considered impossibly bizarre.”
Bizer said stores have figured out it’s not just the deals driving consumers. Much of their Black Friday business is based on the growing desire to be part of the experience — getting up early, camping out in lines, the camaraderie with other early-bird shoppers.
“There is the psychological phenomenon that you won something, you beat the system, that you’re a winner somehow because you got one of only 50 flat-screen TVs on sale at such-and-such a price. Scarcity is a powerful driver of human behavior. If you feel that something is scarce and you might not get it, you can suddenly want it badly.”
Lots of people showed up at midnight at Colonie Center last year, said mall manager Byron Marshall, and he said he won’t be surprised if the mall sees a similar influx Thanksgiving evening.
While the mall technically opens at midnight Black Friday, many of its retailers have decided to open at 8 p.m., he said. That list so far includes Aeropostale, American Eagle, Bath & Body Works, Express, Gap, L.L. Bean, Macy’s, New York & Company, Rue 21, Sears, Shoe Dept. and Victoria’s Secret, while Boscov’s will open at 7 p.m,
The shopping center will also host special events and giveaways to lure in early birds. Shoppers will have a chance to win a $1,057 Colonie Center gift card if they visit the mall between midnight and 1 a.m. and enter their names.