Who stands the best chance of pocketing shoppers' first Black Friday dollars?
In an effort to coax consumers into spending their limited holiday budgets at their stores, a slew of retailers are pushing the envelope again this Thanksgiving by opening earlier—or for the first time—that day.
Sometimes, though, even that isn't enough. A number of stores, including Kmart, Kohl's and Toys R Us, will also host marathon hours, with Kmart scheduled to stay open for 42 straight hours. RadioShack had initially planned to stay open from 8 a.m. through midnight, but later decided it would close for a few hours to let employees celebrate the holiday.
The competition is most fierce among the department stores and big-boxers, who typically sell less differentiated product.
Despite many retailers pulling their hours forward, there are a number of holdouts that refuse to cut the holiday short. The stores that will wait until Friday to launch their deals tend to be the luxury names, club stores or off-pricers, who by nature don't rely on doorbuster deals to drive traffic, said Virginia Morris, vice president of consumer insights and strategy at Daymon Worldwide.
Though it remains to be seen whether the stores that open on Thanksgiving will be the season's big winners, the earlier retailers can try to capture a sale, the better off they'll be, Morris said.
"I would like a sale in my pocket versus one that I anticipate getting," she said.
That said, some retailers' openings will vary by location, as laws in certain parts of the U.S. prohibit stores from being open on Thanksgiving. Some companies, such as TJX, plan to open a handful of their stores, mostly mall locations, at different times. And although all of Nordstrom's doors will again be closed on Thanksgiving, the company leaves it up to its individual store managers to determine the best Black Friday opening time for their location.
See below to get a sense for which retailers are taking the earliest bite at consumers' Black Friday splurges.