November 24, 2010, 2:34 PM

Shopping before the turkey gets cold

Retailers are rushing head first into the holiday season.

Lead Photo

Black Friday? Sure, that’s nice.

But what about Thanksgiving?

As retailers rush into the holiday sale season, tempting consumers with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, some online merchants are going a step further and urging consumers to pause and consider the shopping potential of the annual stuff-your-face-until-your-belt-gets-tight fall eating festival. After all, not everyone wants to watch football or play roles in family dramas.



The home page of Eddie Bauer this week stands out among the Top 100 e-retailers—as listed in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide—for promoting online sales on Thanksgiving Day. A large red box on the home page of the apparel e-retailer, No. 86, proclaims “Thanksgiving Sale” special prices and encourages shoppers to “hurry, prices go back up on Friday.” That’s a novel message, as Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the day many consumers expect to find the best sale prices, suggests a recent survey from Pricegrabber, a comparison shopping engine. 86% of shoppers who consider Thanksgiving weekend the best sales weekend of the year say they expect to find the best deals on Friday.

Other multichannel retailers are promoting the Thanksgiving online availability of their day-after-Thanksgiving offers. The home page of Macy’s, No. 20 in the Top 500 Guide, says the retailer’s Black Friday in-store deals will be available online on Thursday. J.C. Penney Co., No. 16, also promotes the Thursday online availability of its in-store Friday offers.  

Meanwhile, other top e-retailers hope their online storefronts can boost in-store traffic on Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday. Outdoor gear retailer Bass Pro Shops (No. 72) will be among the retailers open on Thanksgiving Day, as will Walmart (No. 6), Sears (No. 8) and The Gap (No. 23). is promoting sales available only in stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (No. 65), while not open on Thanksgiving, is using its site to promote in-store-only Black Friday offers. Shoppers who spend $100 or more in store before noon receive a $50 gift card.

Despite all that activity, fewer than a third, or 31.4%, of multichannel retailers use their home pages to promote in-store Black Friday deals, according to research from, the e-commerce division of the National Retail Federation, a trade group.

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