The annual retail arms race is invading Thanksgiving with a vengeance. Instead of a Norman Rockwell tableau of family gathered round the turkey, a more fitting image this year might be Americans rushing out to bag bargains.
On Monday, Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us said they would be open longer on Thanksgiving and trot out deals usually reserved for Black Friday, the traditional launch of Christmas-centric consumerism. Others, such as Macy’s and Best Buy, had waited until midnight but this year will welcome shoppers much earlier.
Three years ago, that sales strategy was limited to a few struggling chains. But now such Thanksgiving discounting may be the norm for retailers heading into a season that can account for as much as 40% of annual revenue.
It’s a sign of how far nervous merchants are willing to go to court tightwad consumers whose confidence has been dampened by a tepid economic and employment climate.
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