Stores preparing for 'Black Thursday'

Two major retailers will open at midnight on Thanksgiving, getting the jump on Black Friday sales.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 31, 2011 4:13PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer at MSN Money.


Macy's today became the second major retailer -- after Target -- to announce plans to open at midnight on Thanksgiving, rather than in the morning on Black Friday. And in a repeat of last year, Toys R Us plans to open even earlier, at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving.


The announcements come after a bold move by Sears last year to open early Thanksgiving Day. That retailer has not yet announced this year's holiday hours.


Soon, we'll just call this annual holiday shopping kickoff Black Thursday.


By opening at midnight or earlier, these chains hope to grab a larger share of sales before other stores even open their doors Black Friday morning. Post continues below.

To be sure, most Black Friday specials can already be found online at midnight. But to get the most coveted doorbuster specials -- stocked in limited quantities -- shoppers have gotten up early to brave the cold and crowds.


Now can most people just have a cup of coffee and stay up an hour or two later? Will there be doorbuster specials this year at the witching hour, and again at 4 a.m.? Is there any reason to hit these places twice?


All of this remains to be seen, as most retailers' Black Friday ads have yet to be leaked to deal sites.


Opening at midnight, however, could help Target, Macy's and other retailers control the stampeding crowds of wild-eyed discount shoppers.


Target is reportedly taking other measures to cut down on the trampling and elbowing for the best deals, letting just 30 people into the stores every 20 seconds when the store first opens.


As part of its announcement today, Macy's also gave a sneak peek of the kinds of deals shoppers would see in its Black Friday sale, including:

More of those deals can be found here. Good deals for sure, but there was nothing to whip hard-core Black Friday shoppers up in a frenzy. The best deals will be leaked to websites and social media in the weeks ahead. Here at Smart Spending, we'll help you track the season's deals and duds.


Have you started your holiday shopping yet?


More on MSN Money:


Oct 31, 2011 8:36PM

If you think holiday shopping is getting out of control...join the movement and take the pledge to not shop until after Thanksgiving at Respect the bird's site!


The Respect the Bird team thinks Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for what you already have, and spend quality time with friends and family - not rush off early from dinner to wait in line and buy, buy, buy, just because something is on sale. Come take the pledge and help us show what our real priorities thanks for family, friends and blessings over a delicious meal! 

Oct 31, 2011 11:20PM
It makes me sad and mad at the same time that retailers are taking away the whole essence of Thanksgiving and people consumed with materialism are helping them get away with it. I don't know about these other women but when I have spent days planning, cooking and cleaning for this annual feast to be shared with family and friends I am dogged tired and the last thing I want to do is stay up late or get up at the crack of dawn to fight other people like dogs over a bone just to save a few bucks. I don't give a rat's a__ if they're giving it away, I'm not ruining my Thanksgiving holiday over another holiday that is a month away. I know they won't, but if people quit going to these ridculous sales outings then the stores would have to go back to opening at a decent hour and let these overworked women get their sleep and then if they want to go shopping it would be a lot more fun when they are rested. Why do the stores have to open at 4am when they could just as easily open at 9am and still have their sales? Honestly does anyone REALLY want to get up in the middle of the night to go shopping? And now they want you to stay up all night and not even go to bed. What's next, eating your Thanksgiving dinner while you're standing in line for the sales? There are plenty of other shopping days before Christmas...we need to take Thanksgiving back. A day that is for spending time with family, friends and giving thanks for the food we have been blessed with. And then let us rest before you start all that Christmas craziness.
Oct 31, 2011 5:31PM
For me I am sick of the dollar being more important then the family.  I will not shop on black friday and I will not shop and any store that puts the dollar before the family.
Oct 31, 2011 5:36PM

What happened to giving Thanks first for what we have. You big stores especially. That is what Thanksgiving is about.

Or have your eyes turned to Big Money signs. Forget what is important. Family and friends. You can't wait an extra day, so your employees can celebrate Thanksgiving. Shame on all of you. For all you Big companies already showing Christmas commercials. Give me a break.  Holy cow, it's Halloween day.

Our family gives Thanks for what we have, each other, our health. We have a tradition no Christmas songs until day after Thanksgiving. As we do our annual Black Friday shopping. We then turn on the radio for the beautiful Christmas holiday season that has begun. Plus, we don't forget the Reason for the Season, Jesus.

Oct 31, 2011 6:34PM
Thank God I'm not working in retail anymore. These companies are #$%^&* ridiculous, and the shoppers aren't much better. Exactly how are the managers supposed to staff the stores and keep their wage budgets in line? Working 80+ hours a week during Christmas isn't enough for them? If the shoppers put half as much thought into the welfare of the employees at the retailers as the idiots on Wall Street  spend worrying about how much a CEO makes, they'd boycott the stupid stores that open on Thanksgiving. Most retailers only give their employees 3 guaranteed days off a year, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.  Now that is gone. Not only will the employees have to be there at least an hour before the doors open, the management team will probably have to be there by 2 pm on Thanksgiving to insure everything is ready for the doors to open at 10 pm. How many shoppers would like to spend their Thanksgiving working only to be treated like crap by a bunch of stampeding idiots?  I  had one company inform us that the after Christmas sale signage had to be up before we  opened on December 26th, but that we weren't allowed to begin putting them up until after closing on Christmas eve. So after working shifts that were 6 am until 11 pm or later at least twice  week for the previous 6 weeks, I was stuck working until 2 hours after closing on Christmas eve and coming in at 7:30 the day after Christmas to finish it up. Then they complained that I was working too many hours.
Nov 1, 2011 11:29AM
avatar sad...I'm not one for black Friday but I know many enjoy it but black Thursday??? Just more family traditions and values down the drain. I hope we don't let Thanksgiving end up just becoming a glorified shopping day!  It should be a family day for everyone.  Family values just don't exist in corporate American's all about the almight dollar.  Employees that are forced to work....people that flock to the sales thinking they are getting the bargain of a lifetime....which they are not.  It's a shame we can't all make a pack to not shop in a store that opens on Thanksgiving.   Everyone should  be home picking at leftovers, digging out your Christmas music and spending quality time with your family, friends and loved ones.  There's not alot of time for that any more.  Too many families have both working parents, some working two jobs.   Don't fall into the trap.  Maybe a new slogan....Say NO to Black Thursday!!  :) 

Nov 1, 2011 9:30AM

Dear Mr./Mrs. Retailer,

Please reconsider your decisions to open your doors on a holiday. These people you make work on a holiday deserve to spend this time with their families too! Your profit margins won't be any better... and if you really think about it having a great sale the day after will still bring in hordes of people. Your indifference to your employees shows where your true interests lay, and people will notice who really cares. Think for just awhile about the sad faces of those that will not be sharing family time because a family member or two won't be able to spend those precious hours with each other and instead will have to  cut short the time that they have. None of us can take your products with us when we die, however, the memories made during holidays help those that are left behind to have cherished times together. Please reconsider what you do for such a small monetary gain.


I hope you read this.

Nov 1, 2011 9:36AM
Macy's Corporate should be ashamed of themselves.  Their sales associates know that holiday season means long, late hours, but to take away their Thanksgiving holiday by forcing them to come to work that night?  How can a person relax and enjoy the holiday?  Shame, shame.  It's just corporate greed.  The sales associates work hard for little pay.  Last year, many of their full-time staff were forced to go part-time so that Macy's didn't have to pay for medical benefits.  And now there's an attendance system that penalizes employees if they call out sick or are late.  I worked for Macy's for 5 1/2 years to supplement my full-time job with a non-profit.  I recently resigned because I couldn't take how badly Macy's treats their employees.   No one cares---you are just a number to them--if you leave, they get someone else for less money.   I will not be shopping in Macy's again nor will I go shopping in any store that does not respect their employees. I was never pro-union but I am leaning that way.  I do not want to be associated with a company that only cares about the almighty dollar.
Oct 31, 2011 5:27PM
I plan to enjoy the holiday with my family.  We all bring different dishes and together it is an amazing feast I get to enjoy with people I love.  And on Black Friday I say home and sleep late.
Nov 1, 2011 2:37AM

I work for major retailer Target and also have worked black fridays.  This will be my 9th.  I've always opened and been on hand to watch the stampede and typically after the rush it is basically over in a couple of hours.  This year if I open I will have to arrive before midnight, after a day with family (two separate thanksgivings, lunch and dinner) which I will have to leave early so that I can get some shut-eye before the store being open for 23 hours.  Because we did not hire alot of seasonal help because basically if you are hired it's for Black Friday and after Christmas the hours dry up, management says we will have to come and work again later that same day.  So basically they screwed over our family time, and if out of town family has stayed we still do not get to visit, nor do we get to go shopping ourselves because that would be too much for me I can tell you that, fighting crowds and traffic only to get to go back to work another shift!  I am so over black friday and retailers competing for who made the most sales.  The sales will continue after black friday up till Xmas and the day after Xmas.  Soon Xmas will be another shopping day if the public doesn't wake up and get their values straight.  So when you are out shopping John and Mary Public, remember that the employees that are working are not there to be abused, we can not help that there is not enought to go around and all the hype over big ticket items that drew you in were gone the first twenty minutes because there were not that many to begin with.  Bait and Switch anyone?  I hope all  goes well with the plan to only let 20 in every 20 seconds, because it sounds like a disaster to me.  I can only hope that one day, people will have had enough and they will boycott black friday.   The deals will still be there the closer Xmas gets.  It probably sounds like I hate my job.  I don't.  And I love John and Mary Public.  I just think making people wait in the cold and possibly wet weather for hours is stupid.  There are enough hours until Xmas and there is a way to turn a profit and make sales without everyone suffering to make that happen.  I have to prepare deviled eggs and casseroles to bring  and I just would like to be able to enjoy my familytime at Thanksgiving but hey there is always cold pizza and cold cuts that have been left out for hours in the breakroom to look forward to!

Oct 31, 2011 5:27PM
Americans should BOYCOTT all holiday buying until after Christmas. The products from China are to cheap and Corporate America does not care enough for Americans anymore. Stop giving them your money and regain our JOBS NOW> WHY CONTINUE TO PAY TO BE MISTREATED. WE ARE SO DUMB!!!> WE HAVE LOST OUR PRIDE
Nov 1, 2011 8:06AM
First anyone who goes out shopping on Thanksgiving day should be ashamed of themselves. This is nothing more than pure greed from the retailers. This is a holiday and people should be home with their family, not out working so someone can get in line for a great deal. It can wait till Friday morning. These retailers should also be ashamed. Where are the executives of these retail companies? At home with their family eating turkey and stuffing and then sitting down to watch a football game only to fall asleep on the easy chair. What's next, staying open on Christmas day. That's not too far off in the future. Why bother having holidays? Especially these two holidays when family and friends are more important than the almighty dollar. 
Nov 1, 2011 11:34AM
Nov 1, 2011 7:59AM

We prefer to be old fashioned. We give thanks for our family and our blessings. We eat waaaaaaaay to much. Then we watch Miracle on 34th street at 6 PM.


OK so we're not that old fashioned, after all.


No shopping, though.

Nov 1, 2011 10:04AM
toys r us doesn't even pay there employees time in a half for working on thanksgiving. they do not care about there employees only about your money!!!!!!!!
Oct 31, 2011 6:41PM
Ok This needs to stop, come on...people have family....we dont need a dam black thursday.  Soon Thanksgiving wont even exist.   After eating all that food....realy cant people just rest a couple a days out of the year with their familys.  I so hope it kicks them in the a..! So much stress put on people as is and now you add more to it.
Nov 1, 2011 9:38AM

Sheer unadulterated greed and idiocy... stores willing to ruin their employees' holidays for the

sake of a few sales, and we're stupid enough to encourage them by buying. Pretty soon every big box store everywhere will be open 24/7/365 through all the holidays.

Nov 1, 2011 7:55AM
Look at all the little sheep running to the store to buy all the shiny, cheap "gifts", exactly like the man on TV told them they should!!!
Baaaaa Baaaaa Baaaaaaaaaaaaa...."Get out of my way, that's my $39 BluRay player!"  Etc. etc. etc., blah, blah, blah....

Man, isn't Christmas, the supposed celebration of the birth of Christ, a real blast?

A bunch of monkeys hopping around as if they are the first one's ever to find a banana!


Merry Christmas to all those who avoid the corporate nonsense and see the holidays for what they truly are, a time to give of yourself to family and those in need. Not to exchange meaningless gifts and try and "outprice" your friends/family.

Nov 1, 2011 8:40AM
Can't speak for those whithout a life or have no family but they won't see me or anyone in our family going shopping at those times. I feel sorry for those people who are forced to work for these greedy idiots.
Nov 1, 2011 7:51AM
It is pathetic pretty soon their poor employee's won't even get Thanksgiving off. Their should be a law that the stores can't open before 4 in the morning. Come on Corporations give your Employee's a holiday!! You can't get alot of the big deals anyway. The stores expecially the teck stores are too full with people trying to get the 15 TV's or computers for cheep you can't even get though the stores.
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