Black Friday comes early at Walmart and Sears

The battle for holiday dollars has begun with the announcement that Walmart – the nation’s largest retailer — will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

That’s two hours earlier than Walmart stores opened last year and four hours before it is actually the Friday from which “Black Friday” originates.

Not only are Walmart stores opening early, they are reportedly guaranteeing access to three special buys for customers in line between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.  The deals include an Emerson 32-inch television for $148, an LG Blu-ray player for $38 and a $399 16-gigabyte Apple  iPad 2 which comes with a $75 Walmart gift card.

Once again, Walmart will stagger various deals across several time periods — 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. — presumably to keep traffic flowing into the store.

Sears Holdings announced earlier this month it would open Sears stores at 8 p.m. local time and stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday. Kmart — which is also owned by Sears Holdings — has opened on Thanksgiving Day for the last 21 years. Sears will also offer two rounds of doorbusters — at the 8 p.m. opening and 4 a.m. on Friday.

Company execs for Sears and Walmart say the early openings and Black Friday specials are in response to customer demand. But what about the employees?

Last year, several employee sponsored petitions cropped up online at urging Target, Best Buy and other retailers to stall openings until Friday morning so employees could spend time with their families on Thanksgiving.

Ron Boire, Chief Executive Vice President of Sears, notes that Sears and Kmart stores will be staffed with seasonal associates and others employees who have volunteered to work on Thanksgiving Day.

What do you think about early store openings on Black Friday? Will you participate?

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– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

18 comments Add your comment

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November 8th, 2012
4:18 pm

Obama gonna pay my bills,Obama gonna pay my bills

david c

November 8th, 2012
4:31 pm

TrolLaBubbica – Get Bent

Sears employee

November 8th, 2012
4:41 pm

I am a Sears associate (non-seasonal), I did not have a choice to work on Thursday. That part of this article is false.

Nedra Rhone

November 8th, 2012
4:52 pm

@sears employee I’m sorry to hear that. Here’s the full quote from Sears EVP Ron Boire: “We understand that many of our associates want to spend time with their families on the holiday, so Sears and Kmart will staff its stores with seasonal associates and those who have volunteered to work on Thanksgiving Day.”. I’ll follow up with Sears reps and let you know if I hear otherwise.


November 8th, 2012
5:32 pm

A corporate executive lied about something? Well, I never…

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Huh? What?

November 8th, 2012
6:52 pm

I’m not going, and hope many others don’t as well. Thursday is a holiday not a shopping day. The doorbusters are nothing but cheap Chinese made crap.

Huh? What?

November 8th, 2012
6:57 pm

I left out…Thursday is a day to spend with your family, not out shopping.


November 8th, 2012
8:13 pm

More and more, we are getting away from all of our American family traditions. Who can’t wait for a few hours longer for the next day, to go shopping, in order to spend time with our families? And retailers appeal to the greed in us, with things that some view as an offer that we can’t pass up, only to get to the store and they have only 3. They know that since you are already in the store, more likely than not, you are not going to leave without buying something, just so that you won’t feel like you wasted a trip. People, please choose to stay and home and connect with your family.

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November 8th, 2012
10:08 pm

IT’S NOT FAIR HAVING TO WORK ON THANKSGIVING! I totally understand your point of view and truly am sorry you have to work on a major holiday. I’m having the hardest time on staying home and kicking back on Thanksgiving or eating dinner @ 2pm to go shopping for Black Friday deals. I feel sorry for the workers everywhere on that day and the day after. Side Note the people at Family Dollar have to work from 8am-5pm that Thursday. Too sad!

Snicklet Snotcicle

November 9th, 2012
4:08 am

Having worked retail for a while, never ceased to amaze me that the customers, as you are totaling their purchases, ranting on about how it is not fair you are working, everybody should be with the ones they love, companies have lost the ability for relate to their employees, you can bet the company heads are not working, Then they want to know why and you basically say “you are here buying”. With my advancements in retail to management I would schedule myself a full shift for every holiday while working retail I worked every holiday because I did not believe in asking any employee to do what I did NOT want to do. My family’s holidays were dictated to the day when we were together not by what the calendar said. Quit that area of work, moved on, but you can bet I do not go shopping on holidays, even when major ingredients have been forgotten; you adjust, you DO NOT jump in the car, go to the store because they are open any way; yea you are there. See how more appreciative you feel,when finally your family’s is the calendar day.


November 9th, 2012
5:07 am

“Ron Boire, Chief Executive Vice President of Sears, notes that Sears and Kmart stores will be staffed with seasonal associates and others employees who have volunteered to work on Thanksgiving Day.”

Hmmmm….. I wonder if Mr. Boire volunteered to work on Thanksgiving day?

Shelley @ Gifts For Her Christmas

November 9th, 2012
2:43 pm

I think Black Friday is great for the bargain hunters and the retailers (who are truly the hunters)…

I will not be lined up at WalMart, KMart or Sears this Thanksgiving holiday…I will have to search elsewhere for the best Christmas gifts for women deals and bargains…

WAHM Shelley… :)


November 10th, 2012
7:11 pm

I recently was employed by Sears and if you ask me I think they are too money hungry. I was there for 5 years and no one ever got a raise but they want you to keep doing more and more. They push for customer satisfaction but it start with the employees and if they don’t treat them good then they won’t get the customer satisfaction they want.


November 10th, 2012
10:51 pm

I find it interesting that people who work holidays are so unhappy. If you dont want the time & a half for working a national holiday, request the day off far enough in advance to insure you get the day off to spend it with family. I worked retail for 6 1/2 years and never had to work a day I didn’t want to work. Maybe I’m just a person who looks at the brighter side of things, but I was excited to get the extra money around the holidays. If you have such a hard time not working holidays get a job at a bank or somewhere like my current job where I get paid holidays off.
With that said I want to help do my part in boosting the economy by spending my holiday bonus on a black friday special. Does anyone know when the lines begin?