NEW YORK (AP) — Give thanks — and let the post-Thanksgiving shopping begin. Over the years, stores have been expanding their hours on Black Friday to get ahead of the competition, but the kickoff is increasingly happening right after shoppers finish their turkey feast.
Kohl's Corp. and Macy's Inc. will again throw open their doors at midnight, following Thanksgiving. J.C. Penney plans to announce its Black Friday promotions on Monday.
Target Corp. will open its doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, three hours earlier than a year ago, to kick off the holiday shopping season.
The discounter joins several other major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., that are opening earlier in the evening on the holiday and staggering deals over the two-day period.
“We thought long and hard about when the right opening time would be,” said Kathee Tesija, Target’s executive vice president of merchandising. She said that 9 p.m. struck “a perfect balance” for its customers.
Target, based in Minneapolis, plans to offer deals that include an Apex 32-inch LCD TV for $147 and a Nikon digital camera for $99.99 for the earlier opening. From 4 a.m. – noon, the next day, customers who spend $50 or more on clothing, accessories or home products will earn a $10 Target gift card to use toward a future purchase. Target is also preparing additional early morning specials, including Leapfrog Explorer software for $15.
Walmart said it will begin its holiday sale at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, two hours earlier than last year. It then will have two more rounds of sales events including a 10 p.m. sale on electronics and another sale at 5 a.m. the next day.
Lord & Taylor's, which was closed on Thanksgiving last year, has decided to open its New York flagship on the holiday. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sears Holdings Corp. said its Sears stores will open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and will stay open overnight until 10 p.m. Friday. Last year Sears stores were closed on Thanksgiving. The company’s Kmart stores have been open on Thanksgiving for years.
But don’t get caught up in the shopping madness. A smart and measured approach to buying will preserve your holiday budget. Here's how to do Black Friday the smart way:
Make a list of what you want and how much you want to spend. Check out decide.com, which uses data to help you decide the best time to buy a certain product. Check out sites such as bradsdeals.com and blackfriday.com that list hours and circulars for the holiday weekend.
Use social media: Follow your favorite stores’ Twitter feeds and click the “Like” button on their Facebook pages.
Use your smartphone or tablet: Macy’s, through a partnership with eBay, has a Black Friday app that will let customers browse and shop for specials specific to the local store. Customers will be able to view Black Friday specials on their mobile devices and create personal shopping lists they can edit and share.
Walmart customers can view an interactive store map on the Walmart mobile app and click on items to see the price, product description and location in the store.
Keep your receipts: With a growing number of stores offering price matching with online rivals, you may find a better deal later and will have an easier time returning the more expensive item.