By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. is the latest retailer to open earlier on Thanksgiving this year.
The Minneapolis-based discounter said it will open at 8 p.m. on the holiday - an hour earlier than last year. Stores will remain open throughout the night and close at 11 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday.
Target also will offer hundreds of deals online on Thanksgiving morning that will include almost all deals that will be available in stores. In addition, Target said it will feature 15 online-only daily discounts for two weeks beginning on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Traditionally, Black Friday has been the kickoff to the holiday season, with stores opening at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. But over the past several years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving itself.
This year, several retailers like J.C. Penney, Kohl's and Macy's have announced plans to open Thanksgiving evening for the first time. Others, like Toys R Us and Best Buy, are opening earlier on Thanksgiving than last year.
The retailers say it's what customers want. The stakes are high for retailers since the holiday season accounts for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, expects an increase of 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion in holiday sales for the November-December period, up from 3.5 percent last year.
There's also more pressure on retailers this year because the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is six days shorter than in 2012.