For retailers and some shoppers, it’s never too early to start Black Friday sales.
The “Thanksgiving sales creep” of years past has given way to Nov. 1 being the start for some with “Pre-Black Friday” sales.
And, given the habits and opinions of shoppers, this trend won’t go away and potentially could creep into summer.
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BestBlackFriday.com’s September shopping survey showed the largest percentage of respondents had started looking for deals in September, just above the second-most popular time, early November.
With the earlier sales, it’s probably wise to get your lists finished sooner than later. Reuters reported Nov. 6 that store inventories will be running lower this year to keep their own costs down.
Those with smaller in-house stock, according to Reuters, include Macy’s, JC Penney, Kohl’s and Nordstrom.
“Our shoppers said they wanted four things for the holidays,” Kelly Cook, chief marketing officer for Sears and Kmart, told CNBC in a report Nov. 1. “That consisted of extra time, added customer service, more freebies and ‘the whole store on sale.’ ”
One retailer totally bucking this trend is REI, which will not be open on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. It’s stuck to this plan since it started its national #OptOutside campaign in 2015.
Yet, the outdoor gear retailer is still the outlier among major chains when it comes to the Black Friday retail rush.
Here’s a rundown of the competition. All times listed are from online Black Friday sales promotions dealnews.com and some could still change. Check before you make the trek.
First, the stores closed Thanksgiving and open early on Black Friday:
The Apple Store will open Black Friday at 8 a.m., same as Barnes & Noble.
Costco will open at 9 a.m. Black Friday.
Now those open on Thanksgiving:
Fred Meyer, open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, will start Black Friday at 5 a.m.
JC Penney will open at 2 p.m. Thanksgiving, Kohl’s at 5 p.m., same as Macy’s and Best Buy (which also sells its Deal of the Day using Amazon’s Echo device for voice ordering).
Dick’s Sporting Goods, which recently came to the Tacoma Mall, will opens at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the same time that Target and Walmart’s sales start, though online sales will start earlier.
Speaking of Amazon Echo, Target will offer its first deal on the second generation model. Also for sale from Amazon at Target: the Echo Dot and Echo Show.
Pro tip for Target shoppers: You can buy online for in-store pickup on most items except the “doorbuster” deals. And, its RED cardholders will have access to more deals on Wednesday (Nov. 22).
Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, will open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving, and will stay open 30 straight hours.
Some toy deals at Toys “R” Us were made available earlier in November. Also, don’t expect price matching at Toys “R” Us from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to a report by retail industry observer RetailDive.com.
Big Lots will put in marathon hours: from 7 a.m. to midnight Thanksgiving, and then starting again at 6 a.m. Friday.
In a change from previous years, Cabela’s in Lacey will be open for Thanksgiving, starting at 8 a.m. That puts it in line with the practice of its partner company, Bass Pro Shops.
By the numbers
According to digital marketplace Flipp:
▪ On average, shoppers plan to spend $475 over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday time frame.
▪ Men, on average, will outspend women $570 to $385
▪ Comparing age groups, those 18 to 54 will outspend those 55 and older $500 to $400.
According to an Ebates holiday survey:
▪ 79 percent of Americans will participate in Black Friday shopping.
▪ 44 percent of those shoppers plan to camp out for doorbusters.
▪ Most sought items: clothing, laptops, TVs, and housewares.
“The majority of Americans plan to begin their Black Friday shopping online after Thanksgiving dinner, and one in five will shop immediately after dinner,” according to Ebates, an online shopping and discount service.
“Some even admit to shopping on their mobile phones during Thanksgiving dinner (11 percent).”
But what we do and what we say can be two different things.
BestBlackFriday.com’s poll of what people think about shopping on Thanksgiving showed overwhelming majority against it, even more so than last year.
Just under 15 percent said they will shop online that day (11 percent will shop in-store), while 64 percent said they will not shop at all on the holiday.
Also from the website’s survey of Black Friday shoppers: The holiday sales people were most interested in were, in order, at Amazon, “other stores,” Walmart, Target, Best Buy and the Apple Store.