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This year, Black Friday went insane.Retailers opened their stores earlier than ever, digging deep into Thanksgiving Day in a desperate grab to get customers into stores first.
The strategy backfired. All it did was increase costs while shifting the consumption pool.
So, what’s going to happen next Black Friday?
“I’m hoping they’re going to say: we learned our lesson and we can go back to some sanity,” said Michael Brown, a partner at A.T. Kearney’s retail practice, on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning.
“6:00 is a great time to open. People can go out, they can enjoy the holiday. But moving it into Thanksgiving is probably not the best move right now,” he continued.
Big box behemoths Walmart, Target, and Best Buy were among the group of retailers that opened on Thanksgiving night — earlier than they ever have before.
And it’s not just about the shoppers. Retailers have hordes of employees that they’re angering when they open on Thanksgiving. The cost of getting them into work on a holiday, plus the impact on morale, isn’t worth it unless you can back it up with increased sales over the season.
“Black Friday has always been about who can be first. None of the extra hours are additive, but you’ve got to be first to the dollars,” said Brown. “It keeps adding cost. It extends the hours. It keeps trying to bring people to the stores but most are staying home and shopping in their pajamas online.”
The industry has months to let the lessons of 2012’s holiday season marinate. Come Black Friday 2013, we’ll see what they’ve learned.