She does not have strong feelings about the early openings of stores one way or the other, and as long as no one gets hurt, she said opening early is a good idea for people to have fun, get a jump on Christmas shopping and boost sales for retailers.
“As long as nobody gets hurt,” Hanlon said, “you know those stories where people get hurt, then you have to think twice about it.”
From a logistical standpoint, the earliest the malls can open is 12:30 a.m. Blue laws prevent employees from showing up to work before midnight, Whiting said. It takes about 30 minutes for retailers to prep their stores.
Beverly resident Jon Hurst, the president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said the state’s blue laws may be hurting some Bay State retailers.
“The blue laws are not stopping people from shopping, they are stopping people from shopping in Massachusetts,” Hurst said Tuesday.
There are 47 states that do not have such restrictions.
“It’s a sign of the times,” Hurst said of the desire by some retailers to extend Black Friday as much as possible as they compete with online shoppers. “The consumer has all the tools available in the smartphone to shop 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Hurst said that if he were to poll the association’s 3,500 members, some, like grocery stores, would want to open until 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving. That way, customers could pick up that forgotten can of cranberry sauce. Specialty shops, if they had their druthers, would prefer to open in the evenings to give shoppers a chance to hop on Black Friday bargains.
While Black Friday receives a lot of hype, the busiest shopping days at the mall tend to tilt toward the weekend before Christmas when the procrastinators emerge, Whiting said.