Big-box stores across the country have raised the bar for this year’s Christmas shopping rush, with many slated to open their doors at midnight Black Friday — or earlier.
But for the North Jersey shopping mecca of Paramus, it’ll be business as usual.
The Bergen County borough is sticking to its longstanding ordinance of not permitting stores to operate between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the borough clerk said. For retailers such as Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Toys R Us, that means their Paramus stores will miss out on at least seven hours of sales from early-bird deals and promotions.
John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, said the issue is more frustrating than crippling for retailers, who use Black Friday to set the tone for next several weeks. Large companies also want uniformity across their stores, he said.
“It is not the make-or-break day for the whole holiday season,” Holub said. “But right now, retailers are being very aggressive in their promotions, and they want to be open first to try to get the consumers in their stores first. And unfortunately, they’re going to go elsewhere, because they won’t be open in Bergen County.”
The issue has carried over from last year, when Paramus’ borough council considered granting an exemption to stores that sought to open at 5 a.m. the Friday following Thanksgiving. The council declined to act on the measure just days before Black Friday.
Borough officials this year have fielded calls about whether stores would be allowed to open early, said borough clerk Toni Falato. But she said “the town is standing strong on our ordinance … and we’re not going against it.”
“I’m sure the stores would love to open earlier and stay open later, but it’s not happening,” Falato said.
The National Retail Federation has projected holiday sales would rise about 2.8 percent this year, to $465.6 billion.
Holub said the restrictions on Black Friday were an extension the longstanding Bergen County blue laws, which prohibit most retail sales on Sunday, and “then Paramus is taking it even further.”
“It defies logic,” he said. “Particularly in this economic environment, you’d think elected officials would want to promote a healthy and vibrant retail sector.”