CBL & Associates plans to close all of its enclosed malls on Thanksgiving Day as operators join the growing list of merchants choosing to sit out the day before Black Friday.
The Chattanooga, Tennessee–based company owns or operates 144 properties including 89 regional malls. This year, 73 of its enclosed malls will be closed until 6 a.m. Black Friday.
"We want to bring back the excitement of Black Friday shopping as the true start of the holiday shopping season and allow our employees, retailers and shoppers to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their families," said Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO. "After evaluating feedback from our mall employees and retail partners as well as input from our shoppers, we determined that this was the best decision for our properties."
Department stores, movie theaters, restaurants and retailers with exterior mall entrances will have the option to open on Thursday, but access to mall common areas will be restricted until 6:00 a.m. on Friday.
The properties had begun hosting Thanksgiving Day sales in 2012, opening at midnight that year. But there has been a growing backlash against the practice from shoppers, while retailers have not realized increased sales over the holiday weekend.
Rather, Black Friday sales are now spread out over more days, making merchants more receptive to staying closed and sitting out Thanksgiving Day, according to Leibovitz.
While many retailers, and now malls, are choosing to close on Thanksgiving, online promotions are increasing as stores give shoppers a reason to log on from home.