Forget waking up early to shop on Black Friday; national retailers are opening their doors even before the tryptophan from your turkey dinner kicks in.
The competitive marketplace and customer feedback made the decision easy for retailers who chose to open earlier this year, according to Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation.
“Thanksgiving and Black Friday go hand in hand for retailers,” Grannis said. “These early openings are an indirect response to consumer demand.”
Last year, 10 percent of holiday shoppers said they were either in line or shopping by midnight Thanksgiving night, according to Grannis, who said 24 percent of shoppers surveyed were already shopping by 4 a.m.
Toys“R”Us is leading the early bird trend, staying open 26 hours straight, after it opens its stores at 9 p.m. Thursday.
“Black Friday is truly the kickoff to the holiday shopping season,” said Greg Ahearn, the company’s chief marketing officer. “We’re excited to welcome customers at Toys'R'Us stores across the country for what has become an annual tradition for many families after Thanksgiving dinner is finished.”
Walmart chose a tiered Black Friday event schedule this year, offering deals starting at 10 p.m. Thursday, and releasing a new batch of deals both at midnight and at 8 a.m. Friday.
The retail giant said it decided to open earlier this year because “we know our customers are watching every penny,” according to Sarah Spencer, a Walmart spokeswoman.
Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Target are scheduled to open at midnight Thursday evening.
”Retailers are in the business of pleasing its customers,” said Grannis.
But the same cannot be said of pleasing employees, at least in retail giant Target’s case.
The decision to open on Thanksgiving angered some Target workers, who had collected 195,091 signatures by Tuesday in a campaign called “Tell Target to Save Thanksgiving.”
The campaign was created by Anthony Hardwick, an Omaha-based Target employee, according to the website.
“A midnight opening robs the hourly and in-store salary workers of time off with their families on Thanksgiving Day,” Hardwick wrote. “Join me in calling for Target retail stores to push back their original opening time of 5 a.m. on Black Friday.”
The company planned on sticking to its Thanksgiving midnight opening and said so with a statement, which was read when the petitions were delivered Monday.
“As Target has shared in recent weeks, the decision to open at midnight on Black Friday was not one we took lightly,” said Anahita Cameron, the company’s human resources director.
"It is imperative that we be competitive,” Cameron said. “We will be out working with our teams throughout this exciting time of year, including Thursday and Friday.”
Up to 152 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend, which includes Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
An earlier survey from NRF shows holiday sales are expected to increase 2.8 percent to $465.6 billion this year compared to last year.