Four metro-Atlanta malls say they’ll open their doors to holiday shoppers Thanksgiving Day.
The Mall of Georgia, Town Center at Cobb, Northlake and Gwinnett Place malls will all open for business at 8 p.m. Thursday, joining the ranks of Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart and a few other big box retailers.
Les Morris, a spokesperson for Indianapolis-based Simon Malls, which owns Mall of Georgia, Town Center and Northlake, attributes the early opening to a company survey of shoppers.
“About 58 percent exactly said that that was the most important thing to making their holiday shopping better -- was extended hours, so they could visit the malls on their schedule and get all the great deals and all the selection that our malls offer,” Morris said.
Morris said the survey didn’t specifically ask shoppers about Thanksgiving Day hours, but the National Retail Federation estimates 33 million people nationally will shop that day both online and in stores.
Sandy Jap, a professor of marketing at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, said trend analysis from the last few years showed an increasing number of people were shopping online post-Thanksgiving feast.
“These brick and mortar retailers are trying to match what’s happening online,” Jap said.
According to an NRF survey, 7 in 10 people who plan to shop this Thanksgiving say they shopped on the holiday last year. And Jap said opening earlier is a way for stores to keep shoppers from spending their money online.
But is opening a few hours earlier on the holiday worth the extra wage costs and resources – especially for struggling businesses? Jap said stores wouldn’t keep doing it if it didn’t turn a profit.
“If retailers are doing it for the second year in a row, or a third year in a row, then I would say yeah, it’s probably been worth their while,” Jap said .
Gwinnett Place Mall Did not respond for comment.