Even the retailers that are departing from last year’s plan for the 2015 holiday sale kick-off are only moving their brick-and-mortar events in one direction: Later. H&M revealed Monday that it would close all of its U.S. stores on Thanksgiving Day, the first time it has ever shuttered its doors for the holiday. Staples, too, which has previously opened on Thanksgiving, decided to start its in-store sales on Black Friday this year because it wants “our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way.” REI, meanwhile, has pledged to close its doors this Black Friday to encourage shoppers to get outdoors.
“It reflects consumer sentiment, because there’s quite a lot of social media activity around essentially taking back the holiday,” said Anita Bhappu, a professor who studies retailing and consumer sciences at University of Arizona.
And with Thanksgiving emerging as the fastest-growing online sales day of the holiday season, retailers are also likely counting on being able to ring up big sales in that channel from shoppers who want an earlier start to gift-buying.
“Digital stores are open 24/7, so I think that perhaps as retailers have developed more confidence in their online operations, they also have the confidence to not go overboard in their holiday operating hours at their physical locations,” said Carol Spieckerman, a strategist at Spieckerman Retail.
In addition to announcing its Black Friday hours, Best Buy on Tuesday offered a peek at the deals it plans to offer that day, such as a Toshiba 55-inch LED TV for $349.99 and $150 off a 27-inch iMac with retina display. The retailer made those and six other deals available beginning Tuesday. The electronics chain had announced back in October that it would offer free shipping on all purchases for the season, a change from its usual free-shipping threshold of $35.
Kohl’s also unveiled its deals Tuesday, including a Fitbit for $89.99 and a Haier 32-inch LED TV for $159.99.
The National Retail Federation projects that holiday sales this year will grow 3.7 percent, a healthy increase but one that would be slightly smaller than the 4.1 percent growth seen last year. Online shopping, however, is expected see stronger sales growth of 6 to 8 percent.
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