A shopping event characterized by extreme behavior among retailers and consumers alike, Black Friday is becoming more tempered this year in at least one regard: It will be less of an all-night affair.
After staying open all night the last couple of years, several shopping malls are finally putting an end to those hours on Thanksgiving night.
Ridgedale Center, Rosedale Center and Burnsville Center are among those that will close their doors at midnight after opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Those malls will reopen at 6 a.m. on the actual Black Friday.
“The traffic has shifted,” said Sean Phillips, regional marketing director for CBL & Associates, Burnsville Center’s operator. “The bulk of the business was happening before midnight.”
CBL decided to close the dozens of malls it owns or manages around the country at midnight after talking to employees, customers and other malls. As stores have begun to open in early evening on Thanksgiving, there wasn’t as much of a need for the extended hours overnight.
CBL malls don’t expect sales to be affected by the change. “It was a similar spend amount,” Phillips said. “It was just being done over a longer period of time.”
While the interior stores at some malls will close at midnight, many anchor stores that have their own direct exterior entrances will stay open all night for more than 24 hours straight. For example, at Ridgedale Center, Macy’s and J.C. Penney will stay open all night even while the rest of the mall stores close at midnight.
The decision to close at midnight this year came as fewer retailers were showing interest in staying open all night at Ridgedale. Last year, only a handful of stores such as Aldo, Express, Hot Topic and Victoria’s Secret as well as the department stores stayed open all night, said Karen Alley, Ridgedale’s marketing manager.
“It’s always been kind of light,” she said of the overnight traffic on Thanksgiving night.
She added that the mall has seen an uptick in traffic earlier in the holiday shopping season as retailers have rolled out deals sooner and as the mall has opened a new Nordstrom and host of other stores.
“Our weekends have been pretty busy,” she said. “People are shopping much earlier.”
A couple of big box stores are also moderating their store hours. For the second year in a row, Richfield-based Best Buy will close its stores at 1 a.m. after opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It will reopen at 8 a.m. Friday. Sears will also close from 2 to 5 a.m.
The pulling back on store hours on Thanksgiving comes not only as retailers have been dangling promotions earlier in the shopping season, but also as they are putting more of those so-called “doorbuster” deals online.
Still going all night
Still, most big box retailers that are opening on Thanksgiving night, such as Target, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and Macy’s, who are loathe to close when their competitors are open, will pull all-nighters again this year.
The Mall of America also expects a big turnout for its round-the-clock kickoff to Black Friday. More than 150 of its 520 stores will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by waves of others opening at 8 p.m. and midnight. Most of those will stay open through the night. A few, such as Sephora, Lucky Brands and Foot Locker, will close for at least a few hours in the middle of the night.
About 14 stores at Eden Prairie Center will stay open all night, though the mall had a few more that did so last year. Nancy Litwin, the mall’s general manager, said the mall’s movie theaters as well as its anchor stores that tend to have big doorbuster events — Target, J.C. Penney and Sears — all draw late-night shoppers.
The mall’s corridors begin to empty out between midnight and 2 a.m., then pick up a few hours later.“We see a lot of people who come out both days,” Litwin said.