Target, Best Buy opening earlier to Thanksgiving Day shoppers

Thanksgiving at Target
Shoppers filled the aisle at the back of the Bloomington Target store, minutes after the chain's first-ever Thanksgiving night opening last year. Hundreds of people braved snow, cold and high winds to stand in line outside the store for Black Friday sales.
Tim Nelson / MPR News

Updated 9:40 a.m.

Already planning your Black Friday shopping strategy? You can now add Target and Best Buy to your Black Friday Eve list.

Target will join other big retailers in opening stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day — two hours earlier than the retailer welcomed customers last year.

Best Buy on Tuesday announced a 5 p.m. opening for most of its stores, an hour earlier than last year.

Target, like other retailers, doesn't want to lose sales to competitors that get an earlier start on Black Friday promotions, said Brian Yarbrough, who follows the retail business for the investment firm Edward Jones.

"Target's going to go right in line with everyone else," Yarbrough said. "I think some retailers last year felt they might have missed out on sales, as people went to other retailers as early as 7 or 8. What used to be open at 5 or 6 a.m. on Friday morning has now become open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. So, it just gets earlier and earlier every year."

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Like Walmart and other rivals, Target is also giving shoppers an early shot at some Black Friday deals and running other promotions aimed at pumping up sales.

Best Buy expects more than 1,000 of its consumer electronics stores in 47 states will open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, an hour earlier than last year.

Most will close at 1 a.m. on Black Friday and re-open at 8 a.m. that morning.

Store hours in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will vary in accordance with state law.

The company says many customers have made it clear they want to begin shopping on Thanksgiving evening and that most Thanksgiving evening shifts are filled by employees who volunteer to work.