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 Change.org 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?
– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog