Macy’s flagship store stayed open all night over Thanksgiving, but employees say it isn’t worth it

Crowds at Macy’s Herald Square store at 9 p.m on Thanksgiving. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury
  • Macy’s flagship store in New York City is open through the night over Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
  • Some employees told Business Insider that the store is largely empty during the night.
  • Increasingly, brick-and-mortar stores have become a less relevant part of Black Friday shopping as customers go online.
  • According to RetailNext, the number of people visiting stores on Black Friday declined 4.5% in 2017. Meanwhile, online sales on that day were up 16.9% versus the previous year, according to Adobe Analytics data.

Macy’s flagship store in New York City was open through the night over Thanksgiving and into Black Friday, and some employees say it doesn’t make much business sense.

Business Insider spoke to 10 employees working at Macy’s Herald Square store on Thursday evening to find out what it’s like to work there in the middle of the night.

“You have some homeless people and some stray people walking around killing time,” a full-time beauty sales associate who has worked at Macy’s for two years told Business Insider.

She added: “Now it’s super busy, but then it’s like a desert. We’re open all night and there is not the business here.”

She said she would be working between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m on Black Friday and opted to do this more than a month ago. Employees who work during Thanksgiving are paid time and a half on the day, and overtime if they work through the night, six associates told Business Insider.

When Business Insider visited the store at around 9 p.m. ET, the entrance level of the store was buzzing with customers who were anxiously snapping up bargains. Several sales associates said that it had been this way since doors opened at 5 p.m.

As we worked our way up its nine floors, the crowds petered out, however. Upstairs in womenswear, two sales associates, who wished to remain anonymous, said there is almost no one at Macy’s after 1:30 a.m.

Though this store would stay open all night, most Macy’s locations across the country closed at 2 a.m. before reopening at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, then stayed open until 10 p.m.

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The crowds petered out upstairs. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

“Some people with kids used the beds to sleep upstairs,” one of the sales associates said.

She said that because she works on commission, she opted out of the all-night shift.

“I am not going to take that shift as I am not going to do anything,” she said.

Increasingly, stores have become a less relevant part of Black Friday mania as shoppers opt to look online instead.

According to Adobe Analytics, online spending on Thanksgiving Day grew 28% this year versus last year, and online sales on Black Friday are set to eclipse 2017’s numbers.

Weary of this trend, and in order to give employees a day to be with family, some retailers such as Costco and Home Depot said they would be staying closed on Thanksgiving.

More on Black Friday 2018: