Toys “R” Us gears up for ’30 straight hours of shopping’ for Thanksgiving

By Michael Campbell News Editor

While some stores are bucking the recent trend of opening their doors minutes after Americans have finished their pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, one retailer is preparing for a shopping event as the kickoff to Christmas shopping season approaches.

Toys “R” Us announced last week it had begun preparations for Thanksgiving weekend as their stores will open at 5 p.m. local time on Thursday Nov. 24 and stay open through 11 p.m. Friday Nov. 25, totaling thirty straight hours of shopping.

“Our customers have voted at the doors year after year, and they continue to want the option to get an early start on their holiday shopping lists,” said Joe Venezia, Executive Vice President, Global Store Operations, Toys”R”Us, Inc. “The good news

is that we’re not only focused on delivering a Thanksgiving Weekend filled with deals and doorbusters, but we’ll be giving shoppers an entire month of can’t miss sales and services.”

The toy retailer with more than 800 locations around the United States expects there to be a large turnout of shoppers at their stores, which led the company to bring on thousands of seasonal workers to help deal with the influx of customers.

Additionally, come Thanksgiving afternoon, when stores open their doors, there will be dedicated staff, dubbed “G.P.S. Navigators,” or “Gurus for Play Stuff,” stationed at the front of the store to help customers quickly locate the latest hot items in toys and games.

“Donning holly-jolly red shirts, these toy experts boast an in-depth knowledge of top Skylanders figures, popular licensed properties and must-have baby dolls, and are ready to help customers navigate the toy aisles with ease,” officials with the company said.

Other customers will be able to use their Toys “R” Us’ website to figure out exactly where they want to go to get the items they need for their holiday wish list.

Plus, Toys”R”Us stores will offer a dedicated “Express Checkout Lane” for gift-givers purchasing four items or less between Thursday, November 24 and Christmas Eve, to help ensure a speedy and efficient visit from entrance to exit.

The retailer has locations in Colonial Heights, Midlothian, Richmond, Newport News and Chesapeake.

Even as traditional brick-and-mortar stores like Toys “R” Us prepare for Black Friday and online retailers like Amazon gear up for Cyber Monday, a new report is suggesting that consumers won’t be spending much for Christmas gifts during the upcoming season

According to a report from The Conference Board, American households plan to spend an average of $563 on gifts this holiday season, which is down slightly from $576 last year.

In addition, the group’s findings suggest that many of those purchases won’t be for full retail prices, with more than 60 percent of households expecting at least a quarter of their purchases to be discounted.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The survey was conducted for The Conference Board in October as part of the Consumer Confidence Survey.

Through their research and analysis, they found that “approximately nine percent of consumers plan to spend more this year on holiday gifts, compared to 11 percent last year.”

64 percent of those surveyed plan to spend about the same as last year, while the remaining 27 percent of respondents said they plan to spend less than last year.

“Continued job and wage growth, and a confident consumer are likely to make this another good holiday season for retailers,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “This season is shaping up to mirror last year’s, with consumers unwilling to pay full price for gifts, and with bargains and incentives driving their spending decisions.”

Officials with The Conference Board added that the number of consumers shopping online continues to grow, contributing to the rise of Cyber Monday. In their survey, “more than three-quarters” of respondents said they expect to purchase at least some of their gifts online. More than a third plan to purchase at least half of their gifts online.

“Consumers realize that fighting the crowds for doorbuster deals isn’t worth it anymore. With the convenience of online shopping, shoppers are able to purchase just about anything they can imagine from the comfort of their own home and score the same deals or even better as they would in-store,” said General Manager Howard Schaffer. “Our data also shows some interesting trends when it comes to shopping both online and on mobile this holiday season.”

In a report commissioned by IPSOS Public Affairs on behalf of, they found over nine out of ten Americans are shopping online and mobile holiday shopping continues to grow, with 63 percent of people planning to use their mobile devices to shop this holiday season.

Copyright 2016 by Womack Publications