Falling in line behind the likes of Macy's, J.C. Penney, OfficeMax, Kmart and more, Staples is joining the horde of retailers opening its doors on Thanksgiving without bothering to wait for Black Friday.
The office supply chain will open on the holiday for the first time in its history, welcoming bargain-hunters at 8 p.m. before closing at midnight. The next day – the traditional holiday shopping kickoff – Staples will reopen at 6 a.m.
The company also surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found that two-thirds are equally as likely to buy gifts online as they are in stores.
A separate survey of more than 2,000 adults, conducted by Harris Interactive for Promotionalcodes.com, concluded similarly that a quarter of consumers will hit up at least one online store for Black Friday.
Slightly more – 26% – said they will visit at least one physical store during the retail bonanza.
Extrapolating from the data, researchers said that about 32 million Americans alter their Thanksgiving plans in order to participate in the Black Friday frenzy. Many reported rushing through their turkey, eating it earlier than usual or skipping it entirely. Some said they decline to visit their relatives during the holiday so they can stay close to local malls.
About 80% of consumers plan to shop for the holidays, according to a Wednesday report from the NPD Group. The research firm found that, of those, 27% will start their hunt before Thanksgiving.
NPD profiled such shoppers, finding that they're most likely to be married mothers who own a home and are more likely than other consumers to use coupons and be influenced by television ads.
The report, compiled from more than 8,000 respondents, found that 19% of early shoppers will go online, while only 11% of Thanksgiving shoppers and 8% of last-minute shoppers will do the same.
To handle the crowds in stores, hiring demand seems to be at a four-year high, according to data firm Wanted Analytics.
In the last 60 days, about 379,000 positions for retail sales professionals are ready for the taking – an 11% year-over-year boost, according to the report.
Department stores, general merchandise locations, home and household appliance chains, and hobby, toy and game companies have the most openings, researchers found. Metropolitan centers – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Dallas – host the greatest concentration.