Reports from the Commerce Department have shown that consumers are increasing spending in the past couple months. Retailers are looking to capitalize on this and gain some type of a competitive edge by opening stores sooner for the launch of the shopping-crazed day known as “Black Friday;” unlocking doors on Thanksgiving evening even earlier this year.
Target Corp. (TGT) said that it will open stores at 9 PM on Thanksgiving night and Toys ‘R’ Us plans to let shoppers in at 8 PM on turkey day as the companies look to generate attention in what is sure to be another highly competitive holiday shopping season. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) opened doors last year at 10 PM on Thanksgiving, but is moving the time forward to 8 PM this year.
Although both are opening earlier than normal for the unofficial kick-off of the holiday season, doorbuster deals that are customary for Black Friday will not happen until early morning (4 AM at Target, 5 AM at Toys ‘R’ Us) on Friday. Others are sprinkling specials at different times to try and keep store traffic fresh across several days.
Other name brands that have jumped on the bandwagon include Sears Holding Corp. (SHLD) who is shifting its opening time back 8 hours from 4 AM Friday to 8 PM Thursday at Sears stores. Sear’s K-Mart stores will be open nearly all day on Thanksgiving.
Kohls Corp. (KSS), Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) and Macy’s Inc. (M) are holding firm with opening at 12 AM on Friday, the same as last year.
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) is going for the whole kit and caboodle; launching its “Black Friday” deals on November 1.
Black Friday has become a frantic day of shoppers lining-up outside retail locations hours before the doors open to try and snag a limited number of deals that are being offered. With the coming of the digital age, the tradition has spilled-over into what is now coined “Cyber Monday” with similar type deals only available online.
While many traditionalists get a sour stomach over the holiday being interrupted for shopping, data shows that consumers like the idea, which translates to a better bottom line for retailers. NPD Group said that stores who opened earlier saw an average of a 22 percent increase in sales. Information from the National Retail Federation shows that in 2011, 24 percent of shoppers were at a store at midnight on Black Friday, up from 9 percent in 2009.
Personally, I’m just waiting for the new nickname for Thanksgiving to catch-on officially if stores keep opening earlier and earlier. “Black Friday Eve” is gaining in popularity, but something more original is sure to be coming. Whatever it’s called, it is looking like it’s going to be “eat and run” for many family members a week from this Thursday.
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