published Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Black Thursday? Many Chattanooga retailers opening doors on Thanksgiving Day

Hannah Sanders stocks shelves in preparation for the holiday sales rush at the Hamilton Place Sears early Tuesday afternoon.
Hannah Sanders stocks shelves in preparation for the holiday sales rush at the Hamilton Place Sears early Tuesday afternoon.
Photo by Dan Henry.

When will stores open Thanksgiving Day?

• Kmart -- 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Target -- 9 p.m.

• Walmart -- 8 p.m.

• Sears -- 8 p.m.

• Toys "R' Us -- 8 p.m.

• H.H. Gregg -- 10 p.m.

Friday mall hours

• Hamilton Place Mall -- 4 a.m.

• Northgate Mall -- Select stores will open at 12:01 a.m.; the rest of the mall opens at 4 a.m.

• Bradley Square Mall -- Midnight

• Walnut Square Mall -- Select stores will open at 12:01 a.m.; the rest of the mall opens at 4 a.m.

Source: Survey of retailers

Want a new iPad?

The Times Free Press is giving away two on Black Friday.

Each Black Friday photo or video you send us that we publish LIVE online on Friday will count as an entry.

Send your shots to webeditor@timesfreepress.com or tweet to @timesfreepress between 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving and noon on Black Friday.

Don't miss other big shopping days

Cyber Monday -- Many of the same retailers opening early for Thanksgiving sales will also offer online deals the Monday after the holiday. Look for free shipping at many websites and online stores. Amazon.com will also offer deals. For a summary of sales Cyber Monday go to www.cybermonday.com.

Small Business Saturday -- This fairly new shopping day sponsored nationally by American Express will take place in the Chattanooga region the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Some small businesses will offer discounts. Those who use their American Express card at participating stores will get $25 back. To see a list of participating businesses go to www.shopssmall.com.

By the numbers

4.1 percent -- The amount retail sales are expected to increase this year

$749.51 -- The average spent per shopper on holiday gifts, decor and greeting cards this year

41.4 percent -- The percentage of Americans who started holiday shopping before Halloween

71.5 percent -- The percentage of adults ages 18 to 24 who say they will take advantage of midnight and early bird Black Friday promotions

Source: National Retail Federation

Poll
Should stores open early on Thursday?

No more waking before the crack of dawn with a gravy hangover. No more 3 a.m. traffic.

This year, the rush for holiday deals will begin much sooner than usual: right after the turkey carving.

That's right. Black Thursday -- commonly known as Thanksgiving -- is becoming the new Black Friday.

Big box retailers like Walmart, Target, Toys "R" Us, Kmart, Sears and H.H. Gregg all plan to begin their after-Thanksgiving deals on Turkey Day. Some say the move is an attempt to combat falling pre-Christmas purchasing.

So, people who rush the stores for a discount on televisions or toys on Friday may already be too late, some say.

Up to 147 million people are expected to shop this weekend, a decrease from the 152 million who shopped last Black Friday weekend.

"The days of waking up Thanksgiving morning to find out what retailers' Black Friday promotions will be has transitioned into an ongoing dialogue between companies and their customers starting days in advance," said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow.

"Through sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, company blogs, emails and mobile apps, consumers can connect with their favorite retailers like never before."

For the first time, Walmart is guaranteeing that people in line at the store between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thursday will receive a discounted price on Apple iPad 2 16GB with Wi-Fi ($399), Emerson 32-inch 720p LCD television ($148) and LG Blu-ray Player ($38).

"We know it's frustrating for customers to shop on Black Friday and not get the items they want," Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer at Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

Still, while shoppers may be happy to get a jump-start on deals, many retail employees are not pleased about the Thanksgiving hours. Petitions have been started against several chain stores that are pushing up the clock on holiday shopping.

One Target petition on Change.org has more than 300,000 comments from outraged workers.

Some local workers have sounded off on Facebook, saying that the new hours are interrupting their family traditions and call the decision greedy.

"I do have to work Thanksgivng and it saddens me not to be with family. But I'm thankful to have a job, just wish big retailers would respect family time," said Kennie Denise Jones.

"I work for Walmart and I just hope that most people will stay home with their families on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe greedy employers like Walmart will get the message and move their sales back to Friday so their people can spend time with their families or pay us double time. Walmart Workers Unite!" said Paul Spencer.

"I'm working Thanksgiving from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Friday, and then I have to be back at work Friday at 10 a.m. I won't even be home for eight hours in between shifts," said Vanessa Helton.

In a statement to the Times Free Press, a Target spokeswoman said the season is extremely competitive, and Thanksgiving weekend is one of the year's busiest times.

"Target's opening time was carefully evaluated with the expectations of our guests and the needs of our business and team in mind," said Lou Ann Olson, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-based company.

Contact staff writer Joan Garrett at jgarrett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6601. Follow her on Twitter at @JoanGarrettCTFP.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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