Walmart counters Thanksgiving complaints with extras

Nov. 12, 2013 at 11:05 AM
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BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. retailer Walmart said it would soften the blow for employees working on Thanksgiving with bonus pay, a holiday meal and a discount for a future purchase.

Walmart, which said it would open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, is joining a list of national retailers that are to pushing their Black Friday sales event deeper into the national holiday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Tuesday.

Best Buy and Kmart are also opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the newspaper said. That's one hour after Toys R Us is unlocking its doors.

In turn, Big Lots is opening at 7 p.m. Kohl's, JCPenney, Macy's, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Sears, Staples and Target have all said they are opening at 8 p.m., said it was likely to post more petitions this year than the 160 posted in 2012 from retail employees and others protesting the incursion into their holiday.

"We anticipate new petitions and signatures will roll in -- and likely intensify as Thanksgiving approaches," said a spokeswoman Shareeza Bhola in an email.

"I love my job at Staples [which is also why I've chosen to remain anonymous], but Staples is an Office Supply store. Do they honestly think people are going to be standing outside on Thanksgiving evening for bulk paper and pencils," one online petition reads.

But retailers are looking at the bottom line.

"Black Friday is our Super Bowl of retail. And we think 6 o'clock (on Thanksgiving) is the exact right time for us to open the weekend. ... With six fewer shopping days until Christmas (than last year), Black Friday is going to play an even more important role for us," said Walmart U.S. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer Duncan Mac Naughton.

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