Cabela’s open on first Thanksgiving after Bass Pro merger

Cabela's merger with competitor Bass Pro Shops will be finalized Sept. 25, according to regulatory filings. (Photo: Cabela's/Facebook)

Cabela’s opened its doors to Thanksgiving shoppers for the first time in the retailer’s 50-plus year history. (Photo: Cabela’s/Facebook) 

Cabela’s longstanding tradition of closing for Thanksgiving ended last week when the Nebraska-born outdoor retailer opened its doors at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The holiday hours mirror that of its new owner, Bass Pro Shops. The two iconic retailers completed a multi-billion merger in September after a year of negotiations.

Tommy Millner, Cabela’s former CEO, as recently as 2014 reaffirmed the company’s “respect” for Thanksgiving, vowing to ensure the day off for its employees.

“Dick and Jim Cabela made that decision when they started the company 53 years ago, and it remains unchanged…,” he said at the time.

Millner received an $8 million payout in October to relinquish his control of the company, according to a report from the Omaha World-Herald.

Cabela’s new management, however, seems apt to offering shoppers the earliest possible start to the holiday shopping season. The retailer advertised an exclusive Thanksgiving Day sale of up to 50 percent off in-store.

An estimated 164 million Americans will shop over the holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, spending an average of $967.13 per consumer — up 3.5 percent over 2016.

Estimated gun sales, likewise, appear on the upswing over last year. Dealers processed more than 200,000 applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System on Black Friday — the single busiest day in NICS’s two-decade history. Background checks serve as a proxy for gun sales, but the measurement isn’t exact.

Still, the strong Black Friday numbers keep 2017 on pace to become the second biggest year for gun sales — good news for gun makers and retailers, including Cabela’s.