Best Buy (BBY), Target (TGT), Apple (AAPL) and Wal-Mart (WMT) are just some of the many retailers that will have special hours that include late openings and early closings on New Year's Day, January 1, 2013. After the retail desperation strategies of the Christmas holiday shopping season, it's hard to believe that any retail chain would choose to miss even an hour of retail selling time, much less an entire day.
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And yet, that is exactly what retailers like Costco, Sam's Club, and Tractor Supply Company are doing - keeping their stores locked on New Year's Eve and letting the competition have full claim to their customers. If pressed for an explanation, the retail leaders of these chains would probably play the employee goodwill card.
Truth be told, though, Best Buy, Target, Apple and Wal-Mart have big clearance discounts, January white sales and year-end deals to promote on New Year's Day. Costco, Sam's Club, and Tractor Supply Company don't really participate in those type of promotions, so they might as well stay closed and nurse their after-Christmas retailing hangovers while allowing customers and employees to nurse whatever kind of hangovers they might find themselves with on New Year's Day.
One thing that is notable about the 2013 New Year's Day store hours is the fact that there was no retail creep that disrespected the traditional retail boundaries of New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Retailers didn't attempt to tear customers from their happy New Year friends, families, dinners, parties, gatherings, or celebrations.
There were no News Year's Eve retail distractions as the 2012 Christmas holiday shopping season gently moved out and the 2013 retail calendar began. There was no rushing, no stress and no secret mobile shopping splurges in the bathroom. There was just a national holiday and retail-free time to be something other than a consumer. How very strange and disconcerting. It was a 15-hour pause that allowed both sides of the retail equation to refresh and reboot.
So, that's done. Now, what's next for the U.S. retail industry?
First there's those New Year's Day clearance discounts, January white sales and year-end deals, some of which actually have a one-day only boundary, and some of which will last until inventory reduction is completed. Close behind January clearance sales events will be the Inauguration-Martin Luther Combo Weekend Event, which will blend straight into Valentine's Day promotions.
And then there's that annoying fiscal cliff which could change all the rules of the U.S. retail game for both retailers and consumers in 2013 whether they agree with the socio-econo-politico system that effects retail spending and consuming or not.
And so it begins again - new retail events both real and fabricated, new technologies, new strategies, and new solutions for new retail challenges. But for today there's just January 1st store hours and finding the best New Year's day shopping deals and discounts. And for any day after New Year's Eve, that's plenty to be concerned about.