Retailers Push Early Thanksgiving Deals While Other Stores Close for Holidays

Who can resist the pull of a deep discount on Thanksgiving Day?

— -- Retailers are outdoing each other with early Thanksgiving Day openings, causing resentment among employees' families who can't celebrate the holiday together.

"I usually had to leave in the middle of my Thanksgiving dinner, but this year I won't be able to attend at all," wrote Justin Mills of Selah, Washington. His petition has more than 46,880 signatures.

Target will open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving. Old Navy will open at 4 p.m., offering 50 percent off for 31 hours.

Two days after Macy’s announced it will open at 6 p.m., Kelly Kinsey, a retail manager in Miami, received a notice from the mall where she works.

“It said because Macy’s is open, we have to open. So more than 100 retailers in my mall are forced to open at 6 p.m. or face fines,” she said. “Because Macy’s is an anchor store, the malls follow suit.”

This will be the first in Kinsey’s 18-year retail career that she has to work on Thanksgiving. She started a petition to Macy's that has more than 34,400 signatures.

Shapiro said some countries limit hours by law. Sunday closings are still the rule in some states of Germany. But in upstate New York, one mall will reportedly fine tenant retailers that stay closed on Thanksgiving.

"This macro trend has been accelerated by introduction of online retailing that is always open, which has forced many of the retailers who make their lion's share of profits in the holidays -- like toy stores -- to push for longer and longer store hours," Shapiro said.

Stehmann said his research shows consumers want choices.

"Retailers need to offer a mix of strategies to get consumers in their doorsteps and their websites," Stehmann said.