Brand Watch: Macy's

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It's not yet Halloween but consumers and brands alike are already anticipating the holiday shopping season. Last week, Macy's announced it will open full-line department stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, an hour earlier than in 2015. The retailer will remain open until 2 a.m. with a brief respite before opening back up for Black Friday at 6 a.m.

Macy's spokeswoman Holly Thomas told CNBC in an email that the company is responding  "to significant, ongoing consumer interest" and is seeking staffers who volunteer to work on Thanksgiving Day for overtime pay. This year, Macy's will also celebrate the 90th anniversary of the hallmark Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, demonstrating its historic association with the Thanksgiving holiday.

While Macy's is increasing store hours on Thanksgiving, other retailers are going cold turkey. According to, the leading source for Black Friday ad leaks, stores closed this Thanksgiving include Costco, Crate & Barrel, Home Depot, Ikea, Lowe's, Nordstrom and many others. Last year, outdoor retailer REI campaigned around its decision to close on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, urging shoppers to "opt outside."

Whether consumers are looking forward to good deals or good food this Thanksgiving, retailers like Macy's will certainly be grateful for the former. We took a look at the facts and figures from our sources at

  • Kohl's and JC Penney, which are likely to follow suit and open earlier this Thanksgiving, spent less than half of what Macy's spent in national measured media in 2015. Macy's spent over $700MM in total with the largest portion of spend allocated to newspaper advertising.
  • Of the stores that are confirmed to be closed this Thanksgiving, the biggest media spenders include Lowe's, Home Depot, Pet Smart and TJX Corporation (owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshall's and HomeGoods, which will all remain closed).
  • REI, which saw success from its "opt outside" digital campaign last year, did not make any television investments in 2015. Competitor Dick's Sporting Goods spent over $30MM in cable television and opened at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

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