Could Black Friday Become Black Thursday?

Posted at 6:06 PM, Nov 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-19 21:08:02-05

It’s a simple question, but one that bears the proof as retailers seem to be rolling business hours and start times back to Thanksgiving Day. Big box stores like Walmart, Target, K-Mart, and others all moving to turkey day as their introduction to door buster savings. Electronics retailer Best Buy will open their doors at midnight on Friday, instead of 5:00 or 6:00 AM Friday morning. They are expecting an initial surge of shoppers during door buster hours at midnight, then quite steady the remainder of black Friday. This year will mark the second for Best Buy moving their start time earlier.

According to one survey, about 51 percent of consumers across the country plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend. Holiday sales are expected to increase about three or four percent this year over 2011, to almost 600 million dollars. Keep in mind as big box stores and brick and mortar buildings try to compete, they will also be going up against online retailers vying for their piece of the pie. Many online retailers are actually offering free shipping with purchases made during the holidays.

K-Mart has something called triple door busters sales beginning at 6:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day. They’ll be open until 4:00 PM, then clean-up, rearrange, and retool and another reopening at 8:00 PM Thanksgiving Day. Toy giant Toys R Us is giving a goody bag full of stocking stuffers away valued at up to 30 dollars to the first 200 people at each store. But the big story are the earlier times that stores feel the need to open. Many see it as a matter of convenience for shoppers, and it ultimately avoids longer lines and unhappy people. Store managers say it gives shoppers the option if they wish to venture out earlier (on Thanksgiving Day) versus getting up at 3:00 or 4:00 AM Friday morning.

Our local West Michigan hometown store of Meijer has always been open on Thanksgiving, but their reason has been slightly different than traditional door buster bargins. While door buster savings can be found there during the day, Meijer Director of Public Relations Frank Guglielmi says grocery items are huge on Thanksgiving Day. “It’s absolutely as busy as black Friday because of the grocery side as well as the general merchandise side.”

Make sure to do your homework as a savvy consumer. Black Friday deals don’t always mean the best price! A recent article in the Wall Street Journal actually pointed out after crunching some pricing data numbers…many of the items purchased on/around black Friday can actually be bought for less at other times throughout the year. An example might be the traditional big screen digital TV. Some of the best deals on these can be snagged around Superbowl time as stores clear out last year’s models and try to lure fans in for big screen sports. Be aware of the hertz rating if you’re purchasing a LCD or LED TV. 60 hertz models are bottom of the line and are typically discounted the most. A majority of the deep discounted TV’s on/around black Friday will tend to be 60 hertz. Any action in the picture tends to respond slower (with a blur) than a TV at 120 hertz. Get more information here.

So as black Friday seems to get earlier and earlier for shoppers each year, it is slowly and purposefully becoming black Thursday. Will it ever be accepted? Retailers seem to be gravitating toward moving merchandise at any cost, even if it may mean giving up Thanksgiving parades, turkeys, apple pie, and time with the family.  If you’d like more information on some of the deals being offered and the times stores are opening, click here.