Holiday Central

JC Penney set to open its doors earlier on Thanksgiving

Key Points
  • J.C. Penney is opening its doors on Thanksgiving at 2 p.m.
  • Retailers including Penney's, Target, Kohl's, Wal-Mart and Sears are seen pushing Black Friday promotions earlier this holiday season.
  • NPD Group has found more Americans are set to begin their holiday shopping earlier this year, too.
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J.C. Penney is opening its doors on Thanksgiving an hour earlier this year, the retailer announced Monday, keeping with an industry-wide trend to get a jump-start on seasonal deals.

Penney's doors will open for 2017's Turkey Day at 2 p.m., compared with 3 p.m. in past years.

Meantime, Penney's department store peers Macy's and Kohl's are both opting to open at 5 p.m. this year. While Macy's didn't adjust its hours, Kohl's shifted to kick things off one hour earlier.

Big-box retailer Target also on Monday unveiled its Thanksgiving store hours, planning to open at 6 p.m., while Wal-Mart has yet to announce its holiday schedule. New to this year, Target will close briefly at midnight and reopen its doors at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.

Toys R Us, in its holiday push, will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 30 consecutive hours.

On the whole, retailers are pushing deals and sticking with early openings this holiday season. Eating a Turkey Day lunch then hitting the stores still seems to be a popular choice.

"Getting a late start to the holiday shopping season" has become less frequent over the past decade, according to survey findings from NPD Group.

In 2017, more Americans are expected to begin their holiday shopping in the middle of the season, or Thanksgiving weekend, as opposed to beginning later in the season, NPD said.

In an attempt to arouse excitement around shopping its stores, Penney's is challenging its customers this year to "get everything on their list for less than they think." The company is encouraging shoppers to post photos of their receipts on social media to flaunt their savings.

Penney's said it will post its Black Friday sale prices online as early as Nov. 19. And the department store chain is hosting a "Black Friday Prices Now" event from Nov. 16-18, promising Black Friday-esque prices on items such as pajamas, cookware and jewelry.

For comparison, Kohl's includes more ways for shoppers to earn Kohl's Cash, in-store deals on Cyber Monday and heavier Black Friday promotions that started as soon as last week.

Sears, in a big push, is taking the month of November to . And Wal-Mart is trying to lure shoppers in earlier with more in-store events and — the first of which took place Saturday.

Penney's, though, could arguably use a boost this holiday season more than most.

Just last month, the retailer slashed its 2017 profit and comparable sales forecasts, sending Penney's shares to an all-time low. Chief Executive Marvin Ellison explained the company has been discounting heavily ahead of the holidays to get rid of excess inventory.

Then, just last Friday, Penney's revealed that its current chief merchandising officer, John Tighe, will be leaving the company and won't be replaced.

"This simplified structure offers greater flexibility, which is critical to ensuring our assortment remains fresh and relevant, and compels more shoppers to choose JCPenney," Ellison said in prepared remarks about the changes.

Penney's shares have fallen near 70 percent in 2017.