Deals on Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Every year the sales start a little earlier
At what point will retailers turn Black Friday into November 1st Shopping. It seems to be going backwards a little more each year.
The shift occurred gradually. Although opening hours as early as 6 a.m. Friday were commonplace 10 years ago, it was only during the past several years that stores slowly pushed their hours back even further.
In 2006, Black Friday trendsetters like Walmart, Target, Toys R Us and Best Buy opened their doors at 5 or 6 a.m. From 2007 to 2008, some stores’ openings crept earlier, to 4 a.m., but it wasn’t until 2009 that Toys R Us opened its doors at midnight on Thanksgiving. The next year Walmart followed suit, while Toys R Us moved even earlier, to 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
By 2011, a number of major retailers opened at midnight, while Toys R Us and Walmart continued to push earlier, to 8 and 9 p.m. Shoppers looking to find more traditional hours could turn to Sears and JCPenney, which opened at 4 a.m.
By 2012, Target and Sears joined Walmart and Toys R Us in opening on Thanksgiving evening. And last year, all major retailers on the list – Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Sears, Macy’s, Kohl’s and JCPenney – had adopted Thursday evening to debut their sales. Toys R Us continues to push ahead of most of its competitors, opening its doors at 5 p.m. Thursday last year.
Consumers quickly adjusted to the new hours. In 2012, 10% of early-bird shoppers were in stores by 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, according to the National Retail Federation, while 28% got there by midnight and 46% by 6 a.m. the next day.
Among the record-breakers last year, Kmart opened its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday and stayed open for 41 hours straight. In previous years, the store had closed for several hours starting at 4 p.m. in order to allow its customers and employees a Thanksgiving break.
But not all stores have been in favor of the trend. Last year, Nordstrom, Trader Joe’s, Burlington Coat Factory, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, Home Depot, Menards, TJ Maxx, P.C. Richard & Son, Dillard’s and Marshalls all stayed closed on Thanksgiving. Some retailers even released statements explaining their opposition to Gray Thursday.