Target will once again be open for business on Thanksgiving, joining the ranks of retailers that don’t want to risk missing out on any sales.
The discount retailer told reporters on a media call on Wednesday that stores would open at 6 p.m. on Turkey Day for the third year in a row, to kick off the holiday shopping season in earnest.
Though many labor activists and consumers have decried the encroachment on what was once a sacrosanct holiday, many retailers don’t want to risk staying closed when rivals are open. J.C. Penney (JCP), Kohl’s (KSS), Macy’s (M), and Walmart (WMT)are among the Target rivals that will be open on Thanksgiving.
Target’s stores chief Janna Potts defended the 6 p.m. opening time, saying it works based on the positive response from customers and workers, and that it boosts sales.
“Shopping on the evening of Thanksgiving really has become an activity for the entire family to enjoy,” said Potts.
Many of Target’s online Black Friday deals will actually be available as soon as very early on Thanksgiving, 18 hours before stores open their stores. The online sales are intended to serve consumers who’d rather stay home rather than leave the dinner table to go shopping. It’s also a nod to changing shopping habits: last year, online shoppers over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend outnumbered store shoppers for the first time, according to the National Retail Federation.
While Target reported a strong holiday season quarter last year, business has slowed of late. Its second fiscal quarter of 2016 saw comparable store sales fall 1.1% for the first time in two years while those at Walmart rose 1.8%. Target, looking to counter Walmart’s aggressive pricing this Christmas period, said last month that 60% of its marketing would tout low prices, up from 40% last year.
“Compelling promotions must be part of our equation,” said Mark Tritton, Target’s chief merchandising officer.
Target is bringing back its “10 Days of Deals” promotion that it said raised comparable sales by 5% on those days in the 2015 holiday season.
The list of Target’s Black Friday idea;s is available on its site.