There are 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas this year, compared with 31 days last year. That gives shoppers who waited until today or Black Friday to start shopping six fewer days to mark gifts off their lists.
For major retailers, about 20 percent of yearly revenue comes from the holiday season. To get ahead on that bottom line, many are opening today at earlier hours than last year. Kmart, for example, is opening at 6 a.m., and Toys R Us opens at 5 p.m. with deeply discounted door busters.
Even so, Thanksgiving revenue has thus far proved to be marginal compared with any given Thursday in November. Last year, Thanksgiving shopping brought in $800 million compared with $2.8 billion on a regular Thursday. And Black Friday remained the biggest sales day, bringing in $11.2 billion last year, said Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, a global service that analyzes shopping trends.
“People say Thanksgiving is the new Black Friday, but it’s really not,” Martin said. “It’s like the exclamation point.”
The National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend survey says that 69 percent of the 140 million people who plan to shop this weekend will do so on Black Friday. Only a quarter of them will shop today.
Local businesses rely just as much, if not more, on holiday revenue to increase their bottom lines. The season accounts for as much as 40 percent of yearly revenue for some merchants. And the shorter season can make it difficult.
“It’s a nail-biter,” said Autumn Ruhe, owner of Mildred & Dildred, a local toy store at La Encantada, 295 E. Skyline Drive. “Especially this season because we want to have as many shopping days as we can.” The store has been open six years, so this is the first time it’s had a season like this.
Ruhe said the store doesn’t usually see an increase in business until after Thanksgiving, and is hoping the shorter season means it will be “super-compressed and even busier.”
Locally owned gift shop The Seasoned Woman, 5460 E. Broadway, is tackling the shorter season with weekly incentives and email specials.
This weekend, the store is offering a $10 discount on a $25 purchase. It also will send an email giving customers ideas for gifts under $30; and every Monday through Christmas, there will be a deal of the week.
The holiday season is especially important, said Joan Parks, the store’s owner. “We’re essentially missing one of our biggest weeks after Thanksgiving, and I don’t know if people realize it or not.”
Despite the shorter season, the National Retail Federation predicts November and December sales of more than $602 billion this year, a 3.9 percent increase over last year.
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at 573-4137 or firstname.lastname@example.org