Toys R Us will throw its doors wide starting at 6 a.m. Dec. 21 — the consumption craze known as Super Saturday — and won’t wrap up until 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. During that 87-hour spree, the chain also will tempt customers with price-matching programs, a constant cycle of inventory updates and discounts on hot items such as the Furby Boom toy.
In New York’s Times Square, the Toys R Us store has been open since 8 a.m. Dec. 1 and will remain operational through 10 p.m. on Dec. 24 in an unprecedented 566-hour run.
Then there’s Kohl’s, whose doors will stay unlocked for more than 100 straight hours for the first time. From 6 a.m. on Dec. 20 through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, shoppers will have access to free gift boxes and the ability to order from a wider assortment of goods listed in digital in-store kiosks.
Stores are throwing extended hours, price-matching guarantees, shipping deals and door-buster-style deals at consumers — anything to smooth their path to splurging.
Merchants are facing big challenges this year.
The sour memory of a less-than-spectacular Black Friday weekend is still fresh. The industry is already most of the way through the shortest Thanksgiving-to-Christmas stretch in a decade. And consumer confidence remains fragile.
Harsh weather in the Midwest and Northeast over the weekend caused bricks-and-mortar retail sales last Saturday to plunge 5.4 percent from the same period last year at malls and other shopping venues as foot traffic tanked nearly 26 percent, according to data firm ShopperTrak.
Failure to move merchandise before Christmas will likely require even steeper discounting in the waning days of December for retailers to clear shelves for spring inventory, said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. With all-night holiday schedules, businesses are probably hoping to draw shoppers who work the late shift, teenagers and any other consumers they’ve missed during daylight hours.
“There are a lot of nervous retailers right now,” Martin said. “It’s a fingers-crossed situation.”