Continued from page 1

But the move to open Thanksgiving is not without its own symbolic and marketing costs. Carey K. Morewedge, a professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, believes that Macy's decision will hurt the company’s brand image.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that Macy's has done much to strongly associate themselves with it, sponsoring the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City,” he said. “Advertising that they are starting a sale in the evening, when most people sit down for their Thanksgiving dinner, is likely to be perceived as an attempt to commercialize and manipulate what may be the largest secular holiday in America rather than an attempt to better align themselves with it.”

Jean-Pierre Dube, a professor of marketing at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, agreed. “Shoppers are potentially ‘abandoning their families’ on a holiday to flock to crowded stores. … It is unclear how beneficial it is to have a large mass of consumers getting in their cars and driving after spending the day eating large quantities of food and drinking alcohol,” Mr. Dube said.

When reached for comment, a Macy's retail employee responded that all employees have been instructed by corporate headquarters to not give statements regarding the matter.

In many ways, Greg Fairchild, a professor of business management at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, believes that this is a time of experimentation for retailers. Pointing to increased security costs, overtime wages for workers and extra utility costs, he asked, “If you extend the selling day by one day, do you get more sales than you would had you not been open that day?”