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Retailers Feeling Pressure for Longer Store Hours, as Macy’s Announces 48-Hour Openings

Bloomberg News Photo by Diane Bondareff(NEW YORK) -- Macy's announced most of its stores will be open continuously in the 48 hours leading up to Christmas Eve, some 65 hours straight, putting pressure on other retailers to expand their own hours or promotions.

Most Macy's Inc. stores across the country will be open two days straight, beginning on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 a.m. through Sunday, Dec. 23 at 7 a.m. for its last "One Day Sale" of the season.

While its "One Day Sale" concludes on Sunday, Dec. 23 at 7 a.m., many stores will remain open until midnight that night, so they will be open for 65 hours consecutively, a spokeswoman said.

Whether other companies will follow suit is yet to be seen, said Jennifer Black, president of Jennifer Black & Associates, a research company focusing on the retail and apparel manufacturing industries. While many retail companies offer extended hours starting from the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday through December, few make the jump to a full 24-hour period.

"I think it does put pressure as far as hours on other retailers," she said.

In addition, 34 Macy's locations will remain open until 2 a.m. and 23 locations will be open until the close of business on Christmas Eve.

The company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, said it is expanding its annual holiday shopping hours for last-minute shoppers in search of deals for gifts.

The retailer said it began keeping its doors open 24 hours with Macy's Queens Center in New York in 2006. Eventually, 14 locations were open 24 hours leading up to Christmas.

Some retail workers have voiced opposition to other stores' longer holiday hours. As stores opened earlier this year on Thanksgiving to get ahead of retail competition on Black Friday, one family member of a Target employee started a petition asking the company to refrain from opening its store on Thanksgiving at 8 p.m.

While Black Friday has traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season, retailers began offering promotions in the week leading up to it online and in-stores, followed by Cyber Week deals the following week.

Most of Wal-Mart's 4,000 stores are open 24 hours a day. Apple's only 24-hour retail store is on New York City's famed shopping street, Fifth Avenue.

Black said the extended hours would be a win for shoppers who value convenience and are buying holiday gifts for others. Macy's declined to share sales figures from stores that have been opened for 24 hours.

A spokeswoman for Macy's said it would be difficult to give historical perspective on store sales because 24-hour shopping has been in a limited number of stores in previous years.

Black said it is likely the past extended hours have paid off, if the company is expanding the system to other stores.

"In Macy's case, we don't know the numbers, but I would think it could affect the bottom line, and at the same time, could also make them the retailer of choice," she said.

But who is likely to go shopping in the wee hours of the night? Macy's said traffic may be lighter between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Black said during Black Friday, many young shoppers take advantage of early openings.

"It gives them a place to go and an excuse to go to the mall, especially if you don't have a car," she said.

But Black says any retailer would have to distinguish themselves with not just extended store hours, but great deals.

When it announced its extended hours on Thursday, Macy's also highlighted a "short list" of gifts under $100, $50 and $25, beginning on Dec. 13. Those include a Keurig Mini Plus coffee maker for under $100, gold-plated and silver-plated pendants with crystals in letter initials for under $50 and Polaroid headphones for under $25.

"If you're open 24 hours and you don't have good deals, you would have to be really desperate to go," Black said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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