As we continue closer and closer to the holiday season, retailers are preparing their battle plans and getting ready for the most important time for retailers.  Up until a few years ago, big box retailers would open up early on Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving.  Now, not only are some retailers opening their stores Thanksgiving Day, but J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) announced that its stores will be open at 5pm on Thanksgiving Day.  Last year, big box retailers opened at 8pm on Thanksgiving, represented the earliest opening every for Black Friday.

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J C Penney stores to open for an extra hour

J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) is hurting pretty bad right now: massive debt load, terrible earnings growth estimates this year, not profitable, poor stock performance, etc.  It is certainly impressive to see J C Penney get aggressive and do the earliest opening on Thanksgiving ever, but will it be enough?  J C Penney will be open for an extra hour before the next wave of Thanksgiving Day retail openings occurs at 6pm.  So far, it is confirmed that Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M), and Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD)’s Kmart Stores.

Just two years ago, you couldn’t do any shopping before 6am on Black Friday, and now, a growing trend of shoppers now do their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving.  It is estimated that 25% now begin their holiday shopping on Thanksgiving and further adds to the importance of the “after-feast” shopping spree for retailers.

However, there are a few retailers that refuse to open on Thanksgiving: Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME), and Neiman Marcus, to name a few.  Reasoning behind this is due in part to supporting their workforce and allowing workers to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

The holiday shopping seasons

[drizzle]Holiday shopping season is upon us and only a few weeks away.  This Friday, November 14, we will be getting US retail sales figures and the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence report, which will be greatly eyed by the retail sector to determine the state of the consumer.  With crude oil prices still hovering around $78 a barrel, could this continued weakness really give the consumer life?  Traditionally, winter is a strong seasonal period for oil and gas, but due to their huge losses in the past two weeks, could the consumer spend that extra money at stores?  I will be anxiously waiting for Friday’s fundamental reports, but I do believe that continued weakness in oil and gas will aid the consumer and encourage shopping.  As for J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), the continued goal to get customers shopping again is forefront on the minds of management.  However, Barrons just published an article that forecasts a 35% drop in the stock if it misses sales growth figures.  Could this be the beginning of the end for J C Penney?

Disclosure: None

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