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This is the one thing that could put a halt to Thanksgiving Day store openings

Retailers like Wal-Mart are making Black Friday deals available online even before stores open

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Nowadays Black Friday deals aren’t only available on Friday, or only in stores.

Is the Internet the one thing that can keep store doors closed on Thanksgiving Day?

Every year, there’s a backlash against Thanksgiving openings. A study of 1,000 consumers conducted by RichRelevance, a company that works with retailers on customer personalization programs, found that 64.5% of consumers “hate” or “dislike” it when stores open on the holiday.

Still, every day this week there were new names on the list of retailers that are planning to open on Thanksgiving to get in early with the launch of their Black Friday deals.

Stores open early because the demand is there.

“Obviously there’s consumer backlash, but retailers wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t beneficial from a sales and profitability perspective,” said Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president at Kantar Retail, an analytics and consulting firm.

So-called “Christmas Creep” seems to start earlier each year, with ads for the holidays popping up during the back-to-school season. However, studies show that many consumers begin their holiday shopping well before Black Friday.

Many shoppers also take advantage of layaway programs that offer the option to begin holiday purchases as many as 12 weeks in advance of December payment deadlines.

While backlash hasn’t been able to put a halt to the creep, the increasing number of digital shopping options may. In addition to their Thanksgiving store opening announcements, many retailers are also publicizing the Black Friday deals that are available online and through store apps. A number of these promotions even begin in advance of brick-and-mortar openings.

“We have long regarded the fourth quarter as the recruiting period for online shopping,” said Whitfield. “Shoppers are year-round more likely to be incorporating online shopping in their shopping routines and that’s more acute around the holiday season.”

An Accenture poll of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers found that half of shoppers plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, and 63% plan to shop on Black Friday. Out of those people, 43% plan to shop online on Thanksgiving and 42% plan to head to the stores.

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