LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Many retailers are opting to start "Black Friday" on Friday, bucking the trend to start the shopping event on Thanksgiving day. Park Plaza Mall is joining the growing number, giving the holiday back to its employees.

For the first time in five years, Park Plaza Mall will close its doors on Thanksgiving Day. Store Manager Sofronia Ramirez said she's excited that Park Plaza Mall wants employees to enjoy Thanksgiving.

"I think it's great that the mall has decided to do this. I think that it's important that we have our time to be thankful to be with our family and friends," Ramirez said.

General Manager for Park Plaza Mall Lance Ivy said they're hoping to increase the amount of shoppers who show up on "Black Friday". Another factor in the decision is that internet sales are up.

“The trends in retail are that e-commerce is taking up a much larger share of overall spending," said UALR Chief Economist Michael Pakko.

Retail sales are growing at a rate of about 2.5% versus internet sales that are increasing at a rate of 15%.

“There’s the traditional shopping trip to the mall and there's also visiting the internet and finding your holiday gift," Pakko said. "So it's really providing consumers with greater choices to some extent."

Store managers said they aren't too worried about sales dropping, they're just excited to get the day off. Stores with their own exterior entrance have the option of remaining open. So far there's been no feedback but Park Plaza Mall will reopen its doors that Friday morning at 6 a.m.