Some stores are ending the year-end shopping season the same way they began it — with round-the-clock, marathon shopping hours.
Kohl’s for the first time is staying open for essentially five days straight, from 6 a.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Macy’s and Kmart are opening some of their stores for more than 100 hours in a row from Friday through Tuesday. And Toys R Us is staying open for 87 hours straight starting on Saturday, which is typically the second-biggest shopping day of the year.
The expanded hours in the final days of the season are reminiscent of how some retailers typically begin the season on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday. The strategy comes as stores try to recoup lost sales during a season that’s been hobbled by a number of factors.
Despite a recovering economy, many Americans have been struggling with stagnant wages and other issues. On top of that, the time period between the official year-end shopping kickoff on Black Friday and the end of the season is six days shorter than a year ago. That has given Americans less time to shop.
Sales at U.S. stores rose 2 percent to $176.7 billion from Nov. 1 through last Sunday, according to ShopperTrak. That’s a slower pace than the 2.4 percent increase the Chicago store data tracker expects for the entire two-month season.
The disappointing growth pace has put more pressure on retailers to get people into stores in the final days before the last week of December. A lot is at stake, because they can make up to 40 percent of their revenue in November and December.
“It’s make or break for the retailers,” said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, a consumer research company. “They have to make up for lost ground.”