(CNN Money) – They justify opening on the famous American holiday because of competition. Others are doing it, so they have to as well or they’ll lose out on sales.
“It’s absolutely appropriate that we open at 6 p.m. [on Thursday],” WalMart’s U.S. CEO said in defense of the practice that has been criticized widely.
Yet opening on Thanksgiving does little to boost sales, according to the data from recent years. Instead, it merely shifts some shopping that would have been done on Black Friday to Thursday.
“Ultimately, if you look over the course of the holiday selling season, the fact the stores are opening on Thanksgiving as opposed to Black Friday doesn’t lead to increased sales,” says Howard Feller, a Partner at MMG Advisors, an investment bank specializing in retail and fashion.