The day after Thanksgiving earned its nickname because it is typically the biggest shopping day of the year.
But some stores are bucking tradition this year and opening today instead of Friday in what has become a “love it or hate it” effort to snag those holiday shoppers.
Toys “R” Us, 414 East Southeast Loop 323, plans to open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, company officials said.
“The response to our early opening was overwhelmingly positive,” company spokeswoman Adrienne O'Hara said in a prepared statement. “We opened at 8 p.m. this year to accommodate customers who wanted to get a jumpstart on holiday shopping – even before they went to bed after turkey dinner.”
The giant toy retailer joins Wal-Mart, which also plans a special 8 p.m. opening today.
Local retailer Pink Tumbleweed, 322 ESE Loop 323, plans to open between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thanksgiving with 15 percent off and two-for-one opportunities.
Target plans to open at 9 p.m.
Kohl's plans to offer junior separates starting at $4.99 as Best Buy presents Toshiba 40-inch LCD 1080p HDTVs for $179.99 and Blu-ray players for $39.99.
Broadway Square Mall Marketing Director Monica Bermea said the retail center also plans to open at midnight — a first for the Simon property.
She said several mall retailers tried midnight openings last year with good results so the entire center is going to give it a try.
Officials plan to offer refreshments at the guest services counter to welcome shoppers who still have a little room left over from Thanksgiving dinner.
Some popular items on this year's gift list are expected to be puffer jackets, leggings and video game devices.
“We're going to ride the ride and try to make the most of it,” Ms. Bermea said. “We're taking it on.”
Some retailers are sticking with tradition.
Academy Sports plans to open at 5 a.m. Friday, but offers some online deals a little earlier, starting at 12:01 a.m. on academy.com.
The sporting goods store is to remain closed on Thanksgiving, officials said.
“We're really excited to give our customers some different times to shop,” Allan Rojas, senior communications coordinator, said. “We have a lot going on in what we're doing this year. We're also offering deals for Saturday and Sunday.”
JCPenney also is opening at 6 a.m. Friday.
Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson said the company is not straying from tradition.
“I know some retailers are opening on Thanksgiving this year, but spending Thanksgiving with family is one of America's greatest traditions,” he said in a letter to customers. “Since JCP was founded on the golden rule, I'm proud to honor this tradition by keeping our stores closed on this special day.”
The retailer is offering $10 jeans, $25 boots and $8 kitchen gadgets to celebrate Black Friday.
Don's TV & Appliance started offering Black Friday deals on Monday, allowing shoppers to buy ahead of the big day and avoid the lines.
People who shop on Friday will find hot deals on French door refrigerators, offered at $1,198, and front load washers and dryers for $998 a pair, Thedford said.
Small businesses, such as those in the Historic Brick Street District, are organizing to create weekend mini-shopping experiences for those who want something different this holiday season and don't want to shop on Thanksgiving.
Trend watchers aren't sure what to make of the shift toward shopping on turkey day as opposed to Friday.
Rob Woods, marketing director for blackfriday.com, said Thanksgiving is an important family day and many people don't want anything interfering with it.
He predicts more people will shop online to land a deal as opposed to giving up quality time.
“I think they (retailers) may back off of it,” Woods said. “That's going to be ultimately decided by the sales. We're seeing many times more negative feedback from employees and also from consumers. It's going to be interesting.”