One holiday at a time

Shoppers Jeri Hull (L) and Karen Brashear (R) wait in line while shopping at Toys'R'Us during the Black Friday sales event on Nov. 27, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kai Ryssdal: So let's see, where were we on the whole holiday shopping thing? Last time we checked, Black Thursday is the new Black Friday. Stores opening ever earlier on the day after Thanksgiving, or even on Thanksgiving Day itself.

But hallelujah -- some retailers are holding out. They're not going to start holiday sales until after Thanksgiving.

But will selling according to tradition instead of trend help the bottom line? Sally Herships has more.


Sally Herships: Finished with your turkey and stuffing? Stores like Sears, Target and the Gap are set to open late Thanksgiving night. They're hoping after dessert, you'll stop by to do some shopping.

But at least one retailer, Nordstrom, says it's sticking to tradition and will not be open.

Candace Corlett: Shoppers who shop at Nordstrom value Nordstrom because it has such values.

That's retail consultant Candace Corlett. She says Nordstrom has a long history of respecting customers.

James Fallon is editor of Women's Wear Daily.

James Fallon: I wouldn't expect the luxury consumer to be queueing up at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to buy Chanel.

Fallon says high-end stores can't afford to give out big discounts -- yet. If by the middle of December sales are weak, then we may see markdowns. But deep discounts for designer apparel are a last resort. After all, the taint of low prices can stick to a brand.

Fallon: If they're offering a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for $15, Jimmy Choo isn't going to be thrilled about it.

But Jimmy may have to put a sock in it. What's a store to do if the other retailers are discounting?

Paul Swinand is a retail analyst at Morningstar.

Paul Swinand: If you believe that you're stealing sales from somebody else, well then it makes sense to try to leapfrog your competitor.

But Nordstrom's competitors, at least Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, won't be open on Thanksgiving either. Nordstrom has a lot to feel confident about. Swinand says sales are strong and the company opened three new stores this year. Thus, the signs hanging in the retailer's windows reading: "We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time."

In New York, I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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