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Black Friday becomes Thanksgiving Day affair as retailers open on holiday

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Only one choice for Black Friday.

At least that’s what banners tell shoppers entering Kohl’s department store on Towne Center Drive, which opens on Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. —four hours earlier than last year. Kohl’s is among a few big-box retailers copying each other this season by opening before Black Friday technically begins. It’s a trend that shoppers have mixed feelings about.

“Kohl’s is selling headphones that my daughter wants for $20 off, but on Thanksgiving night only,” said Sandra J. Cavellier, 51, who was shopping Monday at the store. “Now I’m not going to buy them here, because standing in line isn’t worth $20 in savings. I feel sorry for people who have to work.”

Some families are boycotting Thanksgiving Day sales altogether.

“My family is staying home,” said 25-year-old Ember M. Riedel, another shopper at Kohl’s Monday. “It’s important family time, and we’re going to cheer on the Dallas Cowboys.”

Kohl’s will collectively have about 200 employees working shifts during its Black Friday event, whose hourly wage will be boosted by $1, said Autumn G. Pope, area supervisor. She said the store’s sales campaign is more aggressive than last year: a collection of television sets and video game systems will be on sale, and customers will earn $15 in Kohl’s cash for every $50 they spend. Those rewards may be redeemed by shoppers in early December.

“We’re getting to be a one-stop-shop here, but I think our big focus is still on mothers,” Ms. Pope said.

Kohl’s will compete for customers on turkey day with Target, its neighbor on Town Center Drive. Target opened at 9 p.m. last year on Thanksgiving, but it will open at 8 p.m. Thursday. It hired about 50 seasonal employees for the holiday season, and about 200 will work during its sale, said Elisabeth C. Grimshaw, store team manager.

Employees who work Thursday or Friday will receive an hourly wage increase, she said, but could not specify how much. Free breakfast, lunch and dinner will also be offered for employees.

“Opening at 8 p.m. keeps us competitive in the industry and provides a balance between the needs of the business and Target” employees, Ms. Grimshaw said, adding that Target will make a push to sell Apple electronics. “We’re offering a $75 gift card for the iPad Mini, and a $100 gift card for the iPad Air.”

Salmon Run Mall technically opens at midnight on Black Friday, but J.C. Penney, Sears, Best Buy, Gander Mountain, Dick’s Sporting Goods and The Bon-Ton will open the night of Thanksgiving.

Sears will open at 8 p.m. for the second consecutive year after getting an edge on competition last year, said Scott C. Raines, general manager. The retailer has put an extra emphasis this season on bargains at its full-service auto department, which will stay open during the sale.

“The company figures you can have winter tires put on and car winterized here while you’re shopping,”he said.

About 90 employees will work during the sale, he said. They won’t receive a raise, he said, but snacks will be available in the break room.

“To be honest, none of our associates have really balked at” working on Thanksgiving, Mr. Raines said. “Last year we asked if anyone didn’t want to work and didn’t get any feedback. It’s all-hands-on-deck for Black Friday.”

Shopping at Sears on Monday were Tyke E. Thomas, Carthage, and girlfriend Marie A. Lavancha, Harrisville. Mr. Thomas, 68, said his eight grandchildren will all be shopping on Thanksgiving night. But most are in their 30s, he said, and have a different perspective about shopping.

“The midnight sales were OK, but anything before that is going too far,” Mr. Thomas said. “Thanksgiving is for the family, and the stores are taking away from that now.”

Added Ms. Lavancha: “I’m basically with him — Thanksgiving is for the family. And we’re beating the rush. My Christmas shopping is almost done already.”

J.C. Penney store manager Daniel B. Cotton was not available for comment Monday afternoon.

Black Thursday?
The following stores will open on Thanksgiving for early bird sales:
• KMart: from 6 a.m. Thursday to 11 p.m. Friday.
• Walmart: from 6 p.m. Thursday to midnight Saturday.
• Best Buy: from 6 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday.
• Gander Mountain: from 8 p.m. Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday (Thanksgiving sale); from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday (Black Friday sale).
• Dick’s Sporting Goods: from 8 p.m. Thursday to midnight Friday (Thanksgiving sale); from midnight to 10 p.m. Saturday (Black Friday sale)
• The Bon-Ton: from 8 p.m. Thursday to 2 p.m. Friday (doorbuster sale).
• Target: from 8 p.m. Thursday to 11 p.m. Friday.
• Kohl’s: from 8 p.m. Thursday to midnight Saturday.
• J.C. Penney: from 8 p.m. Thursday to 9 p.m. Friday.
• Sears: from 8 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday.
• Old Navy: from 7 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday.
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