Just in time for Christmas…One of the holiest of days is being overshadowed by the need of some United States retail stores to attempt to ride this holiday season, into the record books, all in the name of profit and greed.  To begin with, it was all of the pre-Thanksgiving advertised hype, followed by the opening of stores on Thanksgiving, which was the precursor of “Black Friday”, and now they have added the final attempt to gain additional riches by staying open for the final days leading up to Christmas.   This may be good and welcome news for all the procrastinators out there, but really…..

Catering to last-minute shoppers, Toys R Us announced on Monday that it will keep its doors open for 87 hours straight leading up to Christmas.

This follows the official announcement by Kohl’s to stay open for more than 100 consecutive hours, and is the latest move in a competitive environment that has had retailers trying to out-promote one another since Thanksgiving.

“With only eight shopping days remaining until Christmas, we are offering customers extended, uninterrupted time in stores, providing them the opportunity to shop whenever is most convenient for them,” said Toys R Us’ executive vice president of stores and services.

Locations nationwide will open Saturday at 6 a.m. and remain open until 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. They will also offer shoppers the option to buy items online and pick them up in-store within an hour.

The retailer’s Times Square location, popular among tourists, has been open 24 hours a day since 8 a.m. on Dec. 1. It will stay open until 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve—for a total of 566 consecutive hours.

Toys R Us operated for similar hours in 2012. The difference this year is that the shortened holiday calendar—only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, instead of the typical five—has caught late shoppers off guard.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday likely will rank in the top four busiest shopping days of the season, following Black Friday, according to analysts.

The announcement of extended hours also comes after snow and freezing rain from the Midwest to the Northeast contributed to a nearly 9 percent year-over-year decline in store foot traffic for the week ended Dec. 13.  So, it’s not about shopper convenience at all, but rather about loss of potential profits.

Separately, Citi retail analysts forecast that the number of store shoppers between Dec. 15 and Dec. 21 will be down 1 percent to 3 percent from last year.

The National Retail Federation found a silver lining for retailers making their final holiday push: As of Dec. 9, only about half of consumers had finished shopping, compared with 56.5 percent who had completed their purchases at the same time last year.

In addition to extended hours, aggressive discounting has continued among retailers trying to capture a share of consumer dollars.

Note, promotions recently have echoed the price slashing that greeted consumers over Black Friday weekend. Such as half-off discounts on all merchandise at Abercrombie & Fitch and 40 percent off every item at Express.  In addition, Gap’s Banana Republic was offering half off select styles and an extra 30 percent off already-reduced items.

So, the all-out war to win your almighty dollar continues this season and it is not about this joyous time of year and what it represents, but rather it is purely for enhancing these retail stores profit margins.

 

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