The proverbial race to the bottom is nearing its conclusion as evidenced this week by Target’s decision to open Denver area stores on Thanksgiving Day. This development was overshadowed somewhat by the retailer’s decision to open stores at midnight on Black Friday, but it is no less significant simply because only one market is involved.
That’s because these things always start out innocent enough, but over time morph into something larger. For example, many years ago the standard Black Friday store opening time used to be 7 a.m., then it crept up to 6 a.m., then 5 a.m. and the next thing you know opening time is midnight and retailers are out of earlier options.
As for the 29 Denver area stores that will be open on Thanksgiving, their hours will be limited to 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the move is being positioned as a way to accommodate customers’ last-minute needs. Denver was chosen because it continues to be a strong grocery market with numerous Super Target stores and conventional discount stores with the PFresh format. The company said it will evaluate the Denver test before making decisions about whether to expand Thanksgiving hours to other markets in the future.
Not sure what criteria Target will be using to evaluate the program, but it’s hard to see how this program doesn’t get expanded to more markets with even broader hours, and not because shoppers need a place to go to buy last minute food. Shoppers, some of them anyway, want to begin their holiday shopping on Thursday -- just check out online traffic. Other folks just want a place to go on Thursday afternoon whether it is to escape the confines of an in-laws’ home or take a break from annoying family members if only for a few hours.