Black Friday shopping is starting earlier and earlier every year. In fact, most of the deals no longer start on Friday — they start Thanksgiving night.
Many stores open at midnight, and shoppers line up around the store to get the best deals. But now, stores such as Walmart, Target and Sears are opening on Thanksgiving.
Walmart and Sears will open at 8 p.m. Thursday. Target will open at 9 p.m.
This is the first year Target will open on Thanksgiving. Last year, the retail store opened at midnight.
“The holiday season is highly competitive, and Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year,” Molly Snyder, spokeswoman for Target, wrote in an e-mail.
She said Target carefully evaluated its opening time with customers and employees in mind.
“Our opening time this year reflects the feedback we have heard from our guests — many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning,” Snyder wrote.
John Vinson, manager of the Target on Loop 288, said the store has had a good fall season.
“We’re expecting a busy, busy day,” he said.
Many people come for the door-buster deals on electronic items and toys, he said. He hasn’t really heard of a must-have item, but the Wii U, a gaming console that came out this week, has been popular, Vinson said.
There was a record 226 million shoppers during the same holiday weekend last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual holiday forecast. About 86 million people shopped on Friday, and about 29 million people shopped on Thanksgiving in 2011, according to the data.
This year, about 147 million people are expected to take part in the shopping weekend, the federation reported in a preliminary Black Friday survey. That’s down from the 152 million who planned to shop last year, the survey stated.
At the Golden Triangle Mall, Sears will be the first store to open at 8 p.m. Thursday, followed by many stores at midnight, including Macy’s, Bath and Body Works, Aeropostale, American Eagle, The Limited, RadioShack, Victoria’s Secret, Pac-Sun, Hot Topic, Auntie Anne’s, Glitter, Go Games, Journey’s Shoes and Spencer Gifts.
Matt Ludemann, the mall manager, said the mall doors would be open around 11 p.m.
At 4 a.m., Ross Dress for Less will open, followed at 6 a.m. by JCPenney and Hibbett Sporting Goods.
Dillard’s will be the last store to open at 8 a.m.
“We anticipate having rushes of crowds as different retailers are opening,” Ludemann said.
Last year was the first year mall retailers opened at midnight, he said.
The mall recently unveiled a new setting for Santa Claus and sales have increased. Santa photo sales were up 285 percent Saturday and they were up 200 percent Sunday, he said. Santa will arrive at 10 a.m. Friday.
“People are starting to see that stuff happening,” Ludemann said of the mall renovations. Most of the interior renovations are complete. The exterior renovations will resume in January after the holiday shopping season is over, he said.
Laura Thornquist, a blogger with My DFW Mommy, said opening earlier allows for more shoppers at the stores.
Although, she said she thinks it’s getting a little overboard. People can also get deals online on Black Friday.
Thornquist has been watching deals for more than the three years she’s had her coupon blog.
Door busters are what make shopping that day exciting, Thornquist said.
“Wii U is the big new game,” she said. “It’s sold out everywhere already.”
People have to search for the deals on Black Friday, she said. Thornquist suggests being a smart shopper by doing price comparisons.
She said many stores will price match.
“Because it’s Black Friday doesn’t always mean it’s a deal,” she said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .