Shopping edges earlier this Black Friday
November 21, 2012By Jenny Callison
Editor's note: This version contains updated information about Independence Mall's Black Friday hours.
Could Thanksgiving Day become the first official day of the Christmas shopping season? If this year’s experiment by the nation’s top retailers is successful, the annual family celebration could be shortened by a frenzied dash to the mall and big-box stores.
The announcement by WalMart and Target that their door-buster Black Friday sales would begin on Thursday evening this year has prompted a rush toward early shopping by other national chains as well.
After WalMart announced an 8 p.m. opening and Target a 9 p.m. start, Sears and Toys “R” Us followed suit, each planning to welcome shoppers starting at 8 p.m. All the stores will remain open through the night, closing at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Friday.
“Target is hiring approximately 80,000-90,000 seasonal team members to staff its stores across the U.S. this holiday season,” company spokeswoman Lou Ann Olson said in an email. “Hiring for Target’s seasonal holiday positions began in July for distribution centers and in October for stores. We will continue to hire through December.”
Retailers also have been rolling out online deals all week leading up to Black Friday.
Independence Mall stores such as American Eagle Outfitters and Victoria's Secret will be opening their doors at midnight, according to the mall's website.
As many as 147 million people nationally plan to shop between Friday and Sunday, according to a preliminary survey from the National Retail Federation trade association. That estimate is down from the 152 million who said last year that they planned to join the shopping frenzy.
“It’s critical for retail companies to constantly evolve as consumers do, and right now shoppers want great deals, good value and convenience – exactly what we’re seeing with this season’s late and early openings, price-matching, layaway and mobile offerings,” the retail association’s president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.