News Column

Black Friday's Now Black Thursday

Nov. 13, 2012

Oliver St. John

Shopping

Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

From Toys R Us to Target to Walmart, retailers are opening as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Toys R Us announced Monday that its Black Friday will begin on Thursday night when doors open at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than last year. To entice shoppers to line up even earlier, the retailer will give the first 200 customers at each location a "Great Big Goody Bag" full of stocking-stuffers up to $30 in value.

"You can have your dinner, then come to our store. We all know that everybody gets burned out on turkey and football," says Troy Rice, chief of store operations, who expects stores to have lines from 500 to more than 1,000 people by the time doors open.

About 51 percent of consumers plan to go holiday shopping Thanksgiving weekend, according to a study out Monday from consulting firm Bain.

Opening earlier every year:

Target. The discounter said Monday that doors will open earlier than ever at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, offering sales such as $199.99 Sony PS3 consoles and $49 Nook Simple Touch e-readers. From 4 a.m. to noon on the day after Thanksgiving, the retailer will give $10 gift cards to shoppers spending over $50 in some categories.

"Many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning," says Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck.

Walmart. Target's announcement follows Walmart's last week saying its Black Friday will start on Thursday at 8 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.

Sears. Consumers can start shopping at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and keep going until 10 p.m. the next day, says Sears spokesman Brian Hanover. "They drop their drumsticks, and they pick up door-busters," he says.

Kmart. The discounter will be open from 6 a.m to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a break for dinner until 8 p.m., after which stores are open until 3 a.m. Stores re-open two hours later on Friday morning and stay open until 11 p.m. Kmart has opened on Thanksgiving since 1991.

Staples. The office supplier will give shoppers until 5 a.m. to digest their turkey and start shopping its new inventory of big-screen TVs and video game consoles an hour earlier than last year. Those who arrive before noon on Friday can score savings of over $200 on certain HP PCs with Windows 8.

PetSmart. And pets won't be left out. Feline and canine Santa Clauses will be able to shop for their furry friends at PetSmart starting at 7 a.m on Friday, the retailer announced Tuesday.



Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012


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