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Shopping mall owner announces its 62 properties will be closed on Thanksgiving, reversing trend

CBL Properties, a major mall owner, announced Wednesday that it will keep its 62 properties closed on Thanksgiving Day for the second year. The properties may open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday. (2014 file photo/Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A major mall owner announced Wednesday that it will keep its 62 properties closed on Thanksgiving Day for the second year, reversing a trend of Black Friday shopping beginning on the holiday.

What is Black Friday creep?

The trend of stores beginning its Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day has been dubbed “Black Friday creep.” Some retailers begin its sales on Thanksgiving to get an edge on the Christmas shopping season. Critics have characterized those efforts as corporate greed, arguing that retail employees should have the day off to spend with their families or that the trend contributes to consumerism.

What did the company say?

Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of Chattanooga-based CBL Properties, made the announcement in a letter to customers published on the company’s website. Noting that “Thanksgiving is a special holiday,” Lebovitz wrote: “It is one of the few days when we can gather with family and friends to give thanks, share a meal and just enjoy time together. Last year CBL Properties wanted to do our part to preserve this wonderful tradition and made the decision to close our centers on Thanksgiving.”

Lebovitz wrote that while the company made the decision last year because “we believed this was the right choice,” they were “thrilled with the overwhelming amount of support and appreciation from our employees, our retailers, and most of all you — our shoppers and members of the communities that we serve.”

He said that the properties may open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 24.

“We want you to spend Thanksgiving with your family and friends, then wake up early to spend Black Friday with us,” Lebovitz wrote.

CNBC reported that before last year, CBL's properties were opening earlier and earlier in anticipation of Black Friday shoppers. In 2012, some CBL malls opened for the first time at midnight on Black Friday. In 2013, its centers opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. In 2015, the centers opened at 6 p.m.

Lebovitz told CNBC that he thinks last year’s decision to remain closed on Thanksgiving was the start of a positive “track record."

"Nothing is set in stone forever, but it's a very high likelihood we will continue this unless the circumstances change," Lebovitz said.

For a list of the CBL Properties closing on Thanksgiving Day, visit here.

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