'Black Friday' now begins Thanksgiving evening for many stores
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
11/13/12 at 7:29 AM
Can it really be called Black Friday any more?
Following the trend of aggressive discounting and progressively earlier store openings, more retailers are crossing the Thanksgiving Day threshold for their annual holiday shopping blowout sales.
After a handful of stores opened at midnight or earlier last year, more major retailers are unlocking their doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and many others, including both of Tulsa's indoor malls, are letting in shoppers at midnight.
Toys R Us is once again leading the charge with an 8 p.m. opening time, but it will be joined by Walmart, Sears and Kmart at the same hour.
Target is moving up its opening time by three hours to 9 p.m., and by midnight most of the major department stores and big-box retailers will have doors open and sales started.
"CEOs are saying that shoppers want to start shopping earlier and get to bed earlier," said Michael Brim, founder of Bfads.net, a website that leaks Black Friday advertisements early and tracks other holiday retail sales. "They say customers would rather have evening sales and be able to get to bed by 2 or 3 in the morning. But there's a question as to how much earlier they can open stores without cutting into Thanksgiving dinner."
These aggressive retailers aren't catering to small, niche audiences. Last year in metro Tulsa, more than 500 customers lined up outside Toys R Us stores for an 8 p.m. opening, and midnight openings for Best Buy and Target welcomed thousands of shoppers.
The earliest line-sitters waited more than 24 hours.
Brim said some shoppers have been forgoing Thanksgiving dinner for years to line up early and try to get door-buster deals on electronics, appliances and gifts. Earlier hours will just encourage more people to skip the holiday in exchange for shopping, he said.
Tulsa's two malls, Woodland Hills and Tulsa Promenade, will have many of their stores open at midnight to try to keep pace with department stores.
"Last year we gave retailers the option to open at midnight and the response was overwhelming," said Jodi Koch, marketing manager for Woodland Hills Mall. "People expect these stores to be open at midnight, and if you want to participate in Black Friday you really need to be open then."
Koch said Black Friday firmly shifted to late Thursday last year. Stores were nearly vacant by sunrise on Friday, but shopping picked up again by late morning after customers grabbed a few hours of rest.
While the Thanksgiving night opening trend seems to be successful, many retailers are still experimenting with different door-buster deals at different hours. Walmart is offering sales starting at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Meanwhile, K-Mart is open on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will reopen that day at 8 p.m. before closing at 3 a.m. for two hours. It opens on Black Friday at 5 a.m.
Of course, some retailers have already started heavy discounting in an attempt to pre-empt the Black Friday sales rush.
Home Depot's latest advertising campaign says the home improvement store has started its Black Friday sales.
Nick Egglinton, an assistant manger, said Home Depot is trying to draw attention to its appliance sales during the peak buying season before moving into more gift merchandise after Thanksgiving.
"This is full-fledged appliance season and we've created a lot of hoopla here in the store," said Egglinton, who works for Home Depot at 9808 E. 71st St.
Egglinton said Home Depot will still do some deep discounting on tools and other merchandise for Black Friday.
4 p.m. Thanksgiving
- Toys R Us
5 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23
- Best Buy
- Sports Authority
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Old Navy
- Home Depot
- Office Depot
- Bed, Bath & Beyond
- Radio Shack
- J.C. Penney
Original Print Headline: Trend has more stores opening on Thanksgiving
- Harbor Freight Tools
- Stein Mart
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
Shoppers walk through Woodland Hills Mall on Monday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World