Everyone knows that a handful of major retailers now choose to open on Thanksgiving, but most smaller businesses have remained closed on the holiday — whether it was out of a desire to enjoy the day, or simply because the extra expense of paying people to work on Thanksgiving wasn’t worth the few hours of additional sales. But now some shopping mall operators are spoiling the holiday for their smaller tenants by forcing them to open up on Thanksgiving.
Anchor stores in malls — like Sears, Macy’s, and JCPenney, all of which will open at some point this Thanksgiving — generally have their own entrances and the ability to open and close without concern for the hours of their smaller mall family members.
The Wall Street Journal reports that some mall operators have now decided that since these stores are going to be open, everyone in the mall should be working too. In some cases, if a store remains shuttered on the holiday, it could face fines from their mall overlandlord.
One letter to merchants at the Sunvalley mall in Concord, CA, declares that stores are “required” to open up at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open until at least midnight. Those retailers have the option of remaining open until 5 a.m. the next morning, which should be fun for a small retailer whose staff is mostly high school age teens.
A rep for the company that runs this mall says that since Sunvalley shoppers have demonstrated that they like going to the anchor stores on Thanksgiving, “We ask that all in-line stores open so our customers have a consistent shopping experience.”
And this isn’t a fluke. The Journal reports that around half of the country’s biggest mall owners recently notified tenant shops that they had to open up on Thanksgiving.
Malls are able to compel stores to open on Thanksgiving because they often have conditions in their leases that stores are to maintain the same hours as the mall in general. So if the mall is open on Thanksgiving, dadgummit, those stores will be too.
“Thanksgiving is going to become more of a shopping day rather than the day after,” explains one mall executive who understands the true meaning of Thanksgiving. “The object of all of us is keeping someone in the store as long as we can.”
So when you’re with your family and loved ones this Thanksgiving, be mindful of the fact that every moment you are not shopping you are failing at living up to your potential as a revenue source by not experiencing all the glorious shopping options the mall has to offer.
Just ask “Joliet” Jake Blues of the Blues Brothers: “It’s got everything.”