retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN reports that "as Christmas nears, Toys R Us said it will keep its stores open for 39 straight hours, from 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23 through 9 p.m. the next day, Christmas Eve.

"Its flagship Times Square location, meanwhile, will remain open from 7 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17 to 10 p.m. on Christmas eve a week later -- over 180 hours of shopping time."

The story notes that this is actually a cutback from what Toys R Us did in the past: "Toys R Us kept all of its stores open for four straight days as early as 2010, so this year's event isn't the marathon it once was.

"But this year the store is looking to cut expenses and rejuvenate its business, and the cost of keeping its 900 stores open for days on end are high. But at the last minute, brick-and-mortar stores can do what online sellers can't: guarantee the gift you buy will be under the tree on Christmas morning."

Toys R Us isn't the only bucks-and-mortar retailer offering extended hours. Kohl's has announced that it will be open 24-hours-a-day for the five days leading up to Christmas.
KC's View:
I am reminded of the line they used on the Weekend Update segment of "Saturday Night Live" a year ago when they noted the extended hours at Toys R Us, and then said, "In a related story, the internet announced that it will be open all the time, forever."

Of course, maybe it'll play out a little differently this year, since Amazon (among other online retailers) is being careful not to over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to Christmas presents; you have to order by this Friday, the 19th, to guarantee getting your items by the 24th. So that does give bricks-and-mortar retailers a window to press their advantage.

That said, I'd rather have a colonoscopy without anesthesia than go to Toys R Us anytime, much less during the Christmas holidays. (FYI…this is a long-held view. We were having a conversation the other evening, and all of my kids agreed that they have almost no memory of ever being taken to a Toys R Us.)