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As Thanksgiving Day Sales Become the Norm, We’re Left to Wonder What’s Next?




In 2011, consumers using RetailMeNot.com reported saving more on Thanksgiving than they did on Black Friday. Additionally, consumers using RetailMeNot.com spent 5% more on average per order on Thanksgiving than on Black Friday.

That tidbit comes from the WhaleShark report with the long-winded but accurate title of “OctoNovemCemberTM: Why an Unsteady Economy Is Causing Consumers to Search for Deals Long Before Black Friday.”

What it means is that the retailers who were vilified last year for daring to put profits above family time went laughing all the way to the bank when it opened the next day. Even more retailers pushed their Black Friday opening times back from ‘crack of dawn’ to ‘stroke of midnight’ to make the whole event even more tiresome and exciting.

Brick and mortar stores aren’t the only ones benefiting from the trend. AdAge says that the percentage of holiday day shoppers rose from 15% in 2008 to 22% in 2011. I’d expect that number to jump up closer to 25% this holiday season as more retailers get with the program.

What’s next? Amazon is celebrating Black Friday Deals Week – with seven full days of deep discounts and get ‘em while you can treasures.

And then there’s Target. Last year, they were one of the retailers who took a lot of flack for opening on Thanksgiving Day.  This year, they say they’re not going to fight the holiday wars anymore.

CFO John Mulligan said that instead of going for low prices, they’re going to stand tall on their trendy, but reasonably priced exclusive collections. Well, that’s what he said at a conference back in September, but there’s a little more to the story. Target has announced they’ll be offering special Holiday Price Matching between Nov 1 and Dec 24 for off-line stores and up to Dec 16 for online stores.

You heard that right, Target is offering to refund the price difference if you find the identical item cheaper at Walmart.com,  BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com, or Amazon.com. Yes, really. They’re going to match Amazon’s price. Wow.

To get your refund, you have to jump through some hoops and most people won’t bother. They also only match on a single instance, so don’t think you can go wild then resell your items on eBay for a profit.

The holidays are a stressful time of year, especially if you’re in retail. It’s your one big chance to fill your coffers and start 2013 in the black but at what cost? We’re already turned Sunday into a shopping day and now we’re open on Thanksgiving and Christmas. What’s next? Stores that never close? Oh, wait, we already have those — it’s called ecommerce, 24/7, 365 days a year – we’re open.