More shoppers on Long Island and nationwide will be venturing out to stores and shopping online this Thanksgiving weekend compared to last year to take advantage of Black Friday sales, according to a national retail group.
About 137.4 million people probably will shop in-store and online Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Sunday, up from 135.8 million last year, the National Retail Federation projects. About 21 percent of weekend shoppers plan to shop on Thanksgiving, 74 percent on Black Friday, 47 percent on Saturday and 24 percent on Sunday, the NRF said.
When it comes to shopping, Long Island always exceeds national expectations, said Marshal Cohen, senior retail analyst with The NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research company.
“We are a generous group,” Cohen said. “We love to shop and we love the deals. Just because we tend to have a higher income, it doesn’t mean we don’t want deals.”
Last year, Thanksgiving Day in-store sales took a hit because retailers offered discounts in early November and more customers decided to shop online. In-store sales on Thanksgiving grossed $1.76 billion in 2015, a 12.5 percent drop compared with 2014, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based provider of shopper analytics.
“How many more relatives do you have because retailers decided to open Thanksgiving Day?” Cohen said. “The answer is none. We are not buying more stuff. We are just spreading out when we buy it.”
The tactic of opening stores and starting Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving started in 2011. Since then, it has become the new tradition as brick and mortar stores try to compete with online retailers.
Many major chains such as Macy’s, Best Buy, and Toys R Us are unlocking their doors on Thanksgiving at 5 p.m. Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and Sears stores will open at 6 p.m., while J.C. Penney stores will open at 3 p.m.
On Long Island, Roosevelt Field and Smith Haven malls will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and close at 1 a.m. Westfield South Shore and Westfield Sunrise malls will open from 6 p.m. until midnight.
Tanger Outlets in Deer Park and Riverhead will open on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. and remain open through 10 p.m. Black Friday. Broadway Mall in Hicksville will be open Thursday from 10 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Opening on Turkey Day “is all about retailers protecting their market share,” Cohen said. “Why let online retailers be the only ones selling on Thanksgiving Day?”
Roughly one in five people plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving, according to Manhattan-based consulting firm Deloitte.
“There are shoppers that like to incorporate shopping as part of their holiday ritual with family and friends,” said Danielle Conte, a retail consultant and founder of the shopping blog YoutailRetail.com in Centerport. “It is a chance for some shoppers that like to shop early to go shopping when they are done with their holiday meal.”
But nearly seven in 10 shoppers say they won’t be motivated to shop on Thanksgiving because it’s important to spend time with family and friends, Deloitte found. About 67 percent disagree with stores being open on the holiday, it found.