Kohl's to hold marathon hours for Christmas rush
In the wake of a Black Friday weekend that pushed retailers' hours earlier and earlier—in many cases leading to Thanksgiving Day openings—Kohl's said Thursday that it will extend its holiday schedule to 24 hours a day at most of its locations in the days leading up to Christmas.
For the first time ever, the retailer will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, and keep them open until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve—meaning they will be open for more than 100 straight hours. Last year, stores were open from 6 a.m. to midnight leading up to Dec. 24.
"The holiday season is an eventful time for families, and Kohl's is making it easy for shoppers to wrap up their last-minute gift giving," Michelle Gass, the retailer's chief customer officer, said in a release.
(Read more: The real lessons from Black Friday traffic)
Because of the shortened calendar—there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year compared with last year—retailers are coming up with new ways to steal share from competitors and bring shoppers into their stores. These include extended hours and dramatic price cuts.
Analytics firm ShopperTrak said that the days leading up to Christmas will be especially critical this year, saying it expects the last four days before the 25th will be among the 10 busiest. The group attributed this to the fact that there is one fewer weekend to shop, which will cause more people to make last-minute purchases.
(Read more: Winners and losers of Black Friday)
Retailers who opened on Thanksgiving Day this year were rewarded, with both ShopperTrak and the National Retail Federation saying that the day stole traffic and dollars from the traditional Black Friday hours. According to a survey by the NRF, 31.8 percent of people shopped on Thanksgiving Day, which was an increase of 26.7 percent from last year.
While it remains to be seen whether other retailers will follow in Kohl's tracks this Christmas, some who didn't adhere to the trend of earlier hours reportedly lost some sales on Thanksgiving Day. Pamela Quintiliano, director, specialty retail, at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, said that because Aéropostale didn't open until midnight, competitors like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, which opened at 8 p.m., stole its traffic.
Kohl's last month reported a 1.6 percent dip in same-store sales for the third quarter, which caused some analysts to express concern about its upcoming holiday.
(Read more: Holiday outlook bleak for Wal-Mart, Kohl's)
Bank of America on Thursday morning upgraded Kohl's to a "buy" rating, saying the company is finally poised to reap the benefits of its sales growth initiatives now that inventory is back at manageable levels.
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson. Follow her on Twitter @KrystinaGustafs.