Does closing on Thanksgiving yield long-term reputational benefits?
If you’re in a retail business, then staying open or making the choice to close on Thanksgiving sends an important message to customers and other stakeholders including investors. If you’re working in a non-retail business, then closing on Thanksgiving as well as the day after, aka Black Friday (a national day of shopping) makes employees feel good and gives them the bonus of a long weekend. Do such actions have long-term reputational benefits?
REI, a national retail brand, opted to close their business on Thanksgiving last year – a big shift given the holiday’s history as a kickoff to 4th quarter holiday shopping. I was both surprised and impressed at how the list of similarly-minded retailers is growing as posted on TheBlackFriday.com.
Is this a smart strategic decision that can improve company morale and raise its public image? In many cases, yes. For CBL, a property owner of more than 73 shopping malls, the decision was a combination of family values and hard facts. A poll conducted by SurveyMonkey by BestBlackFriday.com, a site that tracks Black Friday shopping deals and trends, surveyed 502 adults and found that 54% dislike or strongly dislike stores remaining open on Thanksgiving, with 60% saying they won’t go shopping on that day.
It’s true that Thanksgiving is a national holiday. And, most business owners have also made the day after Thanksgiving an unofficial one. In fact, 7 of 10 US employees will get the day off, according to a Bankrate.com survey of 294 human resource and employee relations executives in the public and private sector. 70% of employees will get paid for the day off on Friday, November 26th.
Most of the recognition for companies that have opted to close has been based on spending time with family, but in the future and after such a divisive election it can also be seen as being about diversity, inclusion, cooperation, work-life balance and wellness in the midst of a high-stress American working culture.
Do you think companies gain reputational benefits from closing on Thanksgiving and the day after? Take a Black Friday Survey from SurveyMonkey here.