Some shoppers even had said they would not venture out on Thanksgiving because they believe it’s a sacred holiday meant to spend with family and friends. And at least one who did venture out regretted the decision. By 5 a.m. Friday, Curtis Akins, 51, was sitting on a bench - looking slightly exhausted — inside a mall in Atlanta’s northern suburbs as his wife looked for deals. “I think it’s going to end because it’s taking away from the traditional Thanksgiving,” he said of the Black Friday tradition.
But that sentiment didn’t stop others from taking advantage of the earlier openings and sales. “We like to shop this time of night ... We’re having a ball,” said Rosanne Scrom as she left the Target store in Clifton Park, N.Y., at 5 a.m. Friday.
The reception to the double-day holiday shopping start has led some retail experts to question how much further Black Friday will creep into Thanksgiving. Some now even refer to the holiday as Black Thanksgiving or Gray Thursday. “Black Friday is now Gray Friday,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy.
It’s unclear whether or not the early openings will lead shoppers to spend more over the two days or simply spread sales between the two days. Last year, sales on Thanksgiving were $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the previous year as more stores opened on the holiday, according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak. But sales dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on Black Friday, though it still was the biggest shopping day last year.
Sales figures for this year’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday will trickle out in the next couple days, but some big chains already are proclaiming early Friday morning that the start to the holiday shopping season had gotten off to a successful start.