At this rate, shoppers hoping to get in on “Black Friday” deals will have to eat their turkey for lunch. Both Target and Toys R Us on Monday announced plans to open Thanksgiving evening.
In its earliest opening ever, Target said it will welcome bargain hunters at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28, joining a veritable stampede of retailers, including Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Staples.
Target said most stores will stay open until 11 p.m. on Friday and also will stay open for at least 14 hours on Christmas Eve and 15 hours the day after Christmas.
As for the employees running the holiday shift, Target said it “works closely with its team members to understand scheduling preferences” and pays such workers time and a half.
In an ultracompetitive holiday season that can account for 40 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue, some chains aren’t even waiting out Thanksgiving dinner.
Toys R Us said Monday that shoppers can come in starting at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. the next day. Best Buy said last week that most of its stores will be operational at 6 p.m. on the holiday. Kmart’s 41-hour Black Friday marathon will start at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
Target and Toys R Us are also taking cues from Wal-Mart, which started offering Black Friday deals online in early November.
Target.com will host 15 online-only daily deals in the two weeks starting Nov. 24. Toys R Us rewards-club members can get exclusive access to some discounts on Nov. 27. The toy retailer also said it will preview its Black Friday ad on Nov. 24 on Facebook.
And for the first time, Toys R Us customers can go online to shop most of the bargains just past midnight on Thanksgiving.
The announcements come as retailers increasingly sell more products online.
A new report from IBM analyzing the online transactions of more than 800 retailers in the U.S. showed digital sales up 16 percent in October and 11 percent in the first week of November compared to the same periods in 2012.
In the first week of the month, online sales at department stores soared 110 percent year over year.
A separate study from digital coupon aggregator RetailMeNot found that 56 percent of Americans are shopping more online than they did five years ago. Nearly eight in 10 said they turn to the Web because it allows them to browse at more convenient times than they can in stores.
More than half of respondents told RetailMeNot that Black Friday is the top day for savings during the winter holidays, compared to the 19 percent who said the same for Cyber Monday. And 62 percent of shoppers said they begin their sales hunts by Thanksgiving night.
Even in a year with shaky consumer confidence and government debt contortions, holiday shoppers are gearing up to shell out the big bucks.
More than half of parents with children under age 18 told Harris Interactive that they’re willing to take on debt to make their children happy during the season, according to a survey of 2,087 adults for credit repair firm Lexington Law.
Those earning less than $35,000 a year said they could see themselves accruing $700 in debt on average. Households with $75,000 or more in annual income said they could rack up $300 in debt.
Nine in 10 adults said they plan to buy holiday presents this year, and nearly a third of those don’t have a spending limit in place, according to the report. And more than half of adults haven’t saved any money to support their gift buying.