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Staples Bucks Thanksgiving Trend, Stays Shut on Turkey Day

It's not as if we were ever camping out in front of Staples for great deals on printer paper but the office supply retailer has planted a firm flag by being the first major retailer this year to say it will stay closed on Thanksgiving day.

“We want our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way,” said Demos Parneros, Staples’ president, North American stores and online, in a statement. The store will stay shut until Friday at 6 a.m. The website, however, will remain open for anyone who wants to shop from home.

The announcement goes against the trend in recent years that had stores adding earlier and earlier opening hours that had the traditional "Black Friday" deal frenzy bleeding more and more into Thanksgiving Day. However, last year, the trend saw some reversal with more than 50 large retailers staying closed on Thanksgiving. Among them Costco, Lowes, Nordstrom, REI, Saks, Cabela’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

“Many on the list will surely be closed again this year,” said Brent Shelton, spokesperson for deals site FatWallet.com. “ But I wouldn’t expect any huge retailer to close that knows they can get foot traffic, like Walmart and Best Buy and Target, who have a reputation of having highly coveted doorbusters that bring demand.”

The businesses who choose to stay closed aren't just doing so out of the goodness of their hearts.

In its 2014 Thanksgiving weekend consumer spending survey the National Retail Foundation found that traffic in stores was down slightly over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend over the year before. One reason may be that “holiday shoppers had hard-to-pass-up promotions as early as October and by the time Thanksgiving came around a lot of their shopping had already been done,” said NRF spokeswoman Kathy Allen.

A spokesperson for Best Buy said their 2015 holiday hours would be disclosed “at the appropriate time.” And while many stores have not yet announced their opening hours for Thanksgiving Day, some websites are already starting to pull together “What’s may be open/what won’t” lists.

Some retailers have said it's their dedication to family values that's keeping their doors closed on Thanksgiving, but the early Black Friday promotions, price-matching promises and on-line offers may have more to do with the holiday closures.

“Online traffic is now heavier on Thanksgiving and Wednesday than on Black Friday,” said Shelton, “So more in-store closings on Thanksgiving just makes sense. It also positions those retailers that do close to gain even more online traffic on Thanksgiving.”