Black Friday shopping is starting early at Southside Mall in Oneonta this year — doors will open and sales will start at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
The extended hours reflect a move by some national retailers, including J.C. Penney, OfficeMax and Dick’s Sporting Goods, Luisa Montanti, Southside Mall general manager, said Monday. And the longer hours will better serve customers by providing holiday hours to shop locally, she said.
However, some other retailers don’t have plans to open Thanksgiving Day.
“We weren’t on board for that,” Lary Gell, owner with his wife, Kelly, of Country Junction. The candle maker, home decor and gift business was in the mall until moving in July 2012 to 4987 State Route 23, which isn’t far from the mall entrance. Gell said he was talking with customers Monday afternoon and finding agreement that Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the company of family.
“It’s a family holiday — we will not be open,” Gell said. Country Junction will have extended hours other days during the holiday shopping season, he said.
According to the National Retail Federation, one in four surveyed said plans were to shop on Thanksgiving Day. And, of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day this year, seven in 10 said they shopped online and in stores on Thanksgiving in 2012.
Black Friday will be the biggest day of the shopping weekend this year, according to the Washington, D.C.-based group’s survey, with 69 percent planning to shop on Friday, 43.8 percent on Saturday and 24.2 percent Sunday.
Scholet Furniture, which has stores throughout the area including one at 4974 State Route 23 in Oneonta, won’t be open Thursday.
“We would like our staff to be able to spend time with their families,” owner Art Scholet said Monday.
Barbara Ann Heegan, president and chief executive director of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, said she wasn’t aware of any downtown Oneonta stores that will open on Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is a time for the store owners and their employees to be with their families as a day of rest and thanks while they get ready for the holiday season,” she said. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are being promoted, she said.
At Southside Mall last year, some retailers opened at midnight on Thanksgiving and were open overnight. Montanti said this year all of the mall’s 50 retailers will be open for the 25-hour “holiday madness sale,” except for Bed Bath & Beyond, which will open at 4 a.m. Friday.
Joint hours by anchor stores and other mall retailers are mutually beneficial and give shoppers more options, Jim Bardsley, store manager at J.C. Penney in Oneonta, said.
J.C. Penney opened at 6 a.m.on Friday last year, Bardsley said, and the corporation hasn’t done anything like the planned 25-hour sale. Doorbuster sales will be in effect at times across various departments, he said.
“We anticipate this will drive a lot of traffic,” he said. “We’re very excited.”
The local store has hired about double the part-time holiday staff of last year, he said, but numbers weren’t immediately available.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally is one of the busiest shopping days because of discounts offered by retailers. The designation refers to the use of black ink to record profits.
For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 20 percent to 40 percent of annual sales, the National Retail Federation said. In 2012, holiday sales represented 19.3 percent of total retail industry sales.
In 2012, holiday sales increased 3.5 percent to $579.5 billion, the trade group said. By comparison, 2011’s $560.2 billion was a 5.1 percent increase over 2010. On average, holiday sales have increased 3.3 percent for the last 10 years.
The National Retail Federation is projecting 2013 holiday sales to rise 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion.
On Monday, Montanti and Bardsley expressed optimism about the Christmas retail season.
On Thursday, Southside Mall also will provide entertainment, including music and an open mic from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., Montanti said, and a room is being set up as a lounge with a television and refreshments.
The mall’s extra hours may encourage some shoppers to visit the Oneonta mall, Montanti said, but other shoppers may not break their traditions to travel to Albany or Binghamton.