Black Friday becomes Black Thursday as retailers expand holiday pie

Black Friday starts at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, and retailers expect to ring up as much as 20 percent of their holiday sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. CNBC's Courtney Reagan reports.

Attention Black Friday shoppers: The rules of the game have changed this year. You’ll need to shop earlier and more often to bag those amazing bargains.

At Kmart, Sears, Toys R Us and Walmart, Black Friday starts at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Target opens its doors at 9 p.m.

“Is it now Black Thursday?” asked Michael Brim, founder of, one of many websites dedicated to tracking holiday-season deals. “It’s weird. Are people going to forgo Thanksgiving meals?”

Maybe not, but retailers certainly think dedicated shoppers will have no problem heading to the big-box stores Thursday night.

“We heard from our guests that they look forward to kicking off their holiday shopping with deal-hunting on Thanksgiving night,” said Kathee Tesija, executive vice president for merchandising at Target.

“Our customers love the thrill of Black Friday shopping and equally enjoy getting an early start on their search for the best deals,” said Peter Reiner, senior vice president for marketing at Toys R US.

In another new twist, Sears, Kmart and Walmart are staggering their “doorbuster” deals this year. At Walmart, for example, some of the superspecial deals will be made available when the doors open at 8 p.m. Others go on sale at 10 p.m. A third wave of deals will become available at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

“They’re just trying to get people to stay in the store, take advantage of three different sales and shop all night long,” said Jon Vincent of

One welcome Walmart addition that should help limit the shopping madness that sometimes accompanies the “doorbuster” specials: The retailer is guaranteeing that customers who shop during its one-hour event  Thanksgiving night will be able to get an Apple iPad 2 16GB with Wi-Fi for $399 (and get a $75 Walmart gift card), an Emerson 32-inch 720p LCD TV for $148 and an LG Blue-Ray video player for $38 before Christmas.

If you are in the store or in line between 10 and 11 p.m. Thanksgiving night and one of these items sells out, you can buy a “Guarantee Card,” paying for it by midnight. The item will be shipped to that Walmart store for pickup.

In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by shoppers rushing to get into the store for Black Friday deals.

Retailers also are trying other tactics to lure shoppers on days other than Black Friday. Sears and Target will give shoppers early access to Black Friday bargains in return for their  loyalty. Members of the "Shop Your Way” loyalty club at Sears can shop doorbuster deals starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.

Is it worth joining?

“Shop Your Way is a fairly middle-of-the-road loyalty program and if you frequently shop at Sears, the points might be worth something to you,” said Jeff Somogyi, an editor at

At Target, shoppers with a REDcard credit or debit card account can shop exclusive Black Friday sale items starting Wednesday, Nov. 21. Those with a REDcard will also get a 5 percent discount online and in the store, as well as free shipping on all orders.

Caution: Financial experts say opening a new card simply to get a jump on a sale or even a discount price is a bad idea.

“You're using your credit report as an admission pass, and retail store credit card inquiries are among the most damaging for your credit scores,” said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at “Further, the interest rate on the REDcard is subprime (22.9 percent APR). That makes carrying debt very expensive and certainly outweighs the value of getting a deal on your shopping trip.”

Or, shop from home
Some doorbuster deals can only be snagged by those who wait in line, but most of the items offered Black Friday can be found online.

“For example, Kohl’s advertises 500 doorbusters, and we expect at least 450 of those to be available online,” Jon Vincent of told me.

The super shoppers at visited Walmart and Target on Thanksgiving Day last year. They noted some of the special prices and then shopped for those same items online. They found that 70 percent of those in-store deals were available online for the same price or less. 

“While there were still low prices on some items that we could only find exclusively in-store, chances are high that you’ll find a comparable deal online if you decide to stay home and do a little research,” said Lindsay Sakraida, features director at dealnews.

Retailers understand that a lot of us prefer to grab those Black Friday deals online. At, Michael Brim told me stores have become more transparent about what they’re going to sell online and when it will become available.

“They usually put the online sales live on Thanksgiving Day morning,” he said. “You can shop all morning Thanksgiving Day and if you miss out on any items online or the item is in-store only, you still have the opportunity to go to the store the next day.”

More info:

Herb Weisbaum is The ConsumerMan. Follow him on Facebook or visit The ConsumerMan website.

Discuss this post

I live about a five-minute walk from a Wal-Mart, and plan on being there at 8 to try and take advantage of some deals on video game software. A bit worried about the crowd and potentially selling out of the items I'd like to get, but with the deals being offered - in one case, up to 75% off a game that was brand-new a month ago - it's pretty hard to pass up.

    Reply#1 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:59 AM EST

    Black Friday:

    Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.

    • 25 votes
    #1.1 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:49 AM EST

    Or, in this case, Black Thursday, where people trample each other on the SAME FREAKIN DAY that they're supposed to be thankful for what they have.

    • 22 votes
    #1.2 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:55 AM EST

    lmao true

    • 2 votes
    #1.3 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:58 AM EST

    Spartan- don't waste your time, everyone else has the same idea and will be there much earlier than 8am

    • 1 vote
    #1.4 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:21 PM EST

    Hello folks, why don't we send a message to these retailers who are blending our Thanksgiving with retailer mania and boycott shopping on "Black Thursday and Black Friday"! The corporations are trying to reduce the human species to "consumers".

    • 10 votes
    #1.5 - Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:23 PM EST

    The retailers aren't forcing anyone into the store. People shop for fun. It's like hunting for them. Do you go to the movies on Thanksgiving? Do you go to your gym? Someone is at work so you can do those things.

    If the demand wasn't there, the store would close for the holiday. The corporations aren't reducing us to consumers. We are doing it to ourselves.

    • 3 votes
    #1.6 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:19 AM EST

    I can tell you I think Black Thursday/Friday is not only no fun, but not worth it, either. It is just as stupid as it gets. Let's see...worst day to shop if you want to go in person, and if you want to save money, you can get the same or a better break online.

    • 5 votes
    #1.7 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:16 AM EST

    F**K all you retailers who are conducting Black Friday activities on Thanksgiving Day.

    In your greed you are destroying more of the fabric of the American family.


    • 4 votes
    #1.9 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:55 AM EST

    I can tell you I think Black Thursday/Friday is not only no fun, but not worth it, either. It is just as stupid as it gets. Let's see...worst day to shop if you want to go in person, and if you want to save money, you can get the same or a better break online.

    Best time to Christmas-shop is mid-January. Make an investment. Buy all your presents then. Your family and friends aren't likely to change in 11 months and if there's a new addition, you can easily get just that one or two things as necessary.

    AND, you can enjoy your holidays.

    • 3 votes
    #1.10 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:19 PM EST

    In our house Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving until it's Friday. It's shared w/ family & friends, and plenty of favorite dishes. We end the evening by watching "It's a Wonderful Life". Perhaps the movie is a sort of kickoff to Christmas, and we've all seen it so many times we end up talking over the movie's dialog, but it's what we do.

    Friday hubby & I go to a huge mall in the city. Not to deal hunt, but to watch people, hear music, sip coffees, be together, and maybe decide on a few gifts. Mozeying is a pace we both like on Black Friday, and this is our actual kick-off to the Christmas holiday.

    Merchants need their profits, and we need our gifts, but neither of us are getting them on Thanksgiving Day.

    • 2 votes
    #1.11 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:35 PM EST

    I boycotted Black Friday last year and every other year. Thursday will be no different. What little deductions you get from the item, is not worth the time, or effort for putingt up with the stores psychological manipulations. Retailers are just plain greedy and will do anything to destroy the Thanksgiving tradition. Shopping on line is easier, faster, and allows me more time to do other necessary things besides just shopping for 2 days in a row.

    • 2 votes
    #1.12 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:10 PM EST

    Black Friday tip - STAY HOME.


    • 1 vote
    #1.13 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:42 PM EST

    Doesn't matter by january game will be worth 10 bucks anyways........

      #1.14 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:53 PM EST

      Shop early and shop often? Hell no. I do not participate in any Black Friday shopping.

      There is no gift I need to give bad enough to fight the rude and insane madhouse that is Black Friday. If the only way I can afford a gift is to be part of crazy crowd of idiots then I need to rethink my gift giving.

      I worked retail in the late 70s and early 80s. Today's retail employees have it so much worse than I did back then. Back then the Mall might open an hour early and stay open an hour later. Maybe two hours on the weekend before Christmas.

      Today? I'd rather shovel manure than work retail during the holidays. No point making it even worse for the employees by bugging them on Black Friday.

      • 15 votes
      Reply#2 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:54 AM EST

      I agree with economy killer. I will not shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. It's not fair to those working in retail.

      • 12 votes
      Reply#3 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:43 AM EST

      Here is MY Black Friday tip: stay home with family, be thankful to God almighty for all that you have, relax, recoup, regenerate.....

      • 11 votes
      Reply#4 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:05 PM EST

      Very nice jjsse. m was giving a decent tip, to stay home and enjoy what you have,and you immediately devolve to a personal attack. I bet you are one of those that claims to be tolerant.

      • 5 votes
      #4.2 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:49 PM EST

      I will stay at home and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.

      If you wish to buy incredibly marked-up chinese junk on your 18% credit card that is certainly up to you.

      • 11 votes
      Reply#5 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:12 PM EST

      STAY AT HOME!!! BOYCOTT THANKSGIVING SHOPPING! Not fair to retail workers. They deserve a day off too.

      • 7 votes
      Reply#6 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:24 PM EST

      They should have the WHOLE DAY & NIGHT !! Not go in to work at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day. The only people that should be working are those that have to save lives. I'm sure they don't want to work either, but some do for the love of the job and compassion.

      • 3 votes
      #6.1 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:26 PM EST

      I think the retail workers have very mixed feelings. Most large stores you must request a shift to work on these holidays. Since they pay double in some stores there are more people who want to work than slots available. I suspect the smaller merchants are not as generous.

      It all comes down to personal choice. Nobody has to work retail if the took the time to learn any skill they could get a better job that most likely has the day off.

      Gee I never get a day truly off I could get a call anytime to come to work but I knew that when I entered the profession.

        #6.2 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:35 PM EST

        Pffft! Next year it wil turn into Black Wednesday. Corporate greed hits an all-time high illustrated by the total lack of regard for their employees forced to work under such austere conditions, missing precious time with family.


        • 7 votes
        Reply#7 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:23 PM EST

        Gray Wednesday, Dolomite Thursday and Black're welcome.

          #7.1 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:49 PM EST

          I think it is wrong for these retailers to take their employees away from their families on Thanksgiving. Personally, I will not participate and do not plan on making any holiday purchases from stores that are open Thanksgiving night.

          • 6 votes
          Reply#8 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:27 PM EST

          You want a black friday tip?

          Stay the f*** away from the stores.

          • 6 votes
          Reply#9 - Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:45 PM EST
          Comment author avatarRich Gustafsonvia Facebook

          You can also get discount coupons for many online retailers.
          Free printable grocery coupons are available online too.
          I use

            Reply#10 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:45 AM EST

            This isn't about bargains. It's about greed and stupidity.

            • 4 votes
            Reply#11 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:38 AM EST


            You don't get it do you. Over the years, most of the people who work in retail have been getting less and less time to spend with their families during holidays. Just because you have some misguided notion that it would be fun to go shopping on Thanksgiving day. I have worked retail as a salesperson and in management for several years and I can assure you the staff in those stores do not choose to spend their Thanksgiving Holiday working, They would rather be celebrating a holiday with family.

            • 1 vote
            #11.2 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:54 PM EST

            Why not move it to Halloween? Why not, no sooner than Halloween is over (they skip Thanksgiving) they roll out Christmas music, decorations and whatever else.

            • 2 votes
            Reply#12 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:20 PM EST

            “They’re just trying to get people to stay in the store, take advantage of three different sales and shop all night long,” said Jon Vincent of --

            Because when shoppers are tired or exhausted (as they inevitably will be after planning & executing a huge family meal & gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday), their spending judgment & the natural inhibitions that would normally control their pocketbooks goes completely out the window, and they will spend far more than they normally would (or should).

            • 1 vote
            Reply#13 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:22 PM EST

            Considering the demand for Black Friday it is no surprise that retailers are expanding it. It is, after all, literally their business to supply the demand. If you dont like it, dont go. If you dont want to work on Thursday, get a different line of employment- and good luck finding one that will give you days off when you want one. If you want to sit at home on Thursday and give thanks, then do so. Dont blame the retailers- they are only doing their jobs. You would think in a country that is so hard up for jobs, people would quit whining about having to work.

            • 1 vote
            Reply#14 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:41 PM EST

            Wake up sheeple!

            Deals are just that, psychological. No store ever sells a product for less than what it costs that store to stock it (with the exception of free giveaways meant to get you in the door so that the profit the store makes off of you buying larger ticket items more than makes up for the free stuff or deep discount you get for coming to the store). And for stores to encourage more materialism on a holiday just contributes to the tamping down of the human spirit focusing on instant gratification and narcissism which damages the relationships we have with those around us.

            Sure, I have stuff. But I also have self-respect. If I need something, I will buy it online rather than wait in a line. I like getting a deal like everyone else but my time is also worth something and so is life, I would rather spend time engaging in a good conversation relaxing than alone with stuff that doesn't love you back.

            It is kind of a sad commentary on human existence that on a holiday like Thanksgiving, people now would rather go out and get "stuff" rather than visit with family that they may not have seen in a while.

            If anything, just remember that you can't take it with you.

            Of course, in a disclaimer, if you do not have family to spend Thanksgiving with and will spend it alone (as I will), having stores open that you can go to is nice because you do get that human interaction just as going to the store with your family can be enjoyable after you eat dinner. My comment was written from the point of view of someone skipping family time to go shopping, not using shopping to have family time or to have human interaction. I guess not being able to spend Thanksgiving with family makes me more critical of those that have family but choose not to spend Thanksgiving with them.

            • 2 votes
            Reply#15 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:14 PM EST

            Ruining Thanksgiving is disgusting. I feel terribly for the people that are missing a family member at the table because that family member had to work... on a holiday. I will never shop on Thanksgiving Day. All of the stuff you are looking for will be there on Friday... and every day after that. Stay home, enjoy your families, enjoy Thanksgiving, and send a message to the greedy retailers who worship profits more than their employees.

            • 1 vote
            Reply#16 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:34 PM EST

            Never. Unfortunately, too many people will go take part in this display of complete waste and greed so I'm sure it will be a huge success. In my own mini-protest, I'm not going to shop any of the stores that are opening on Thanksgiving Day at all this holiday season. There are a lot of people that work retail, and apparently they can't look forward to holidays any more. Stop being greedy, and start having a heart.

            • 1 vote
            Reply#17 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:29 PM EST

            I am so sorry that, what was once a wonderful American holiday is now just another shopping day. I , for one, will just stay home and enjoy the evening with my family, which now consists of a 15 year old dog, a seventeen year old cat and a seven month old kitten. but we will cuddle up on the sofa and watch TV and I will enjoy the day off and be thankful for what I have.

              Reply#19 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:18 PM EST

              "Thank you for shopping at Swill-Mart! Where we don't give a rat's ass about our employees, and force most of them onto the Food Stamp rolls. We are now in the process of making sure no one can celebrate a family holiday, and hope you appreciate that our execs are laughing all the way to the bank while the rest of the company's workers suffer with idiotic @!$%# customers chasing down "deals" on the garbage we sell!"

                Reply#20 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:52 PM EST

                myself, i don't do black friday / black thursday shopping.....i spend the day with the holiday should be....usually us guys go squirel hunting for a 2 or 3 hours to get out of our signifigant others hair as well as to get our sons out of there sisters hair and their moms. After that couple hours's all home time.

                How anyone can stand being in line that long and crammed into a store like sardines is beyond me, but to each their own...

                and the kinda person that when i goto the store or a resturaunt and it looks packed to me....i go somewhere else :)

                  Reply#21 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:48 PM EST

                  I have never shopped on Black Friday also have never been unable to get a gift I wanted at the right price. Folks should just stay home enjoy the holiday and families and shop when they can.

                    Reply#22 - Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:53 PM EST

                    I like the staggering Idea.

                    Keeps them in your store.

                    Of course these shoppers should not complain since they dont have anything better to do on Thanksgiving but shop.

                      Reply#23 - Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:49 AM EST

                      Black Friday on Thanksgiving Thursday?
                      Then retail employees will miss time with their families.

                      Retailers have every right to be open on Thanksgiving.
                      And I, the consumer, have the right to boycott.

                      So the message to retailers:
                      If your Black Friday sale starts on Thanksgiving, I'm boycotting your store for the entire Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

                      If you agree, spread the word.

                      Read more here: #storylink=cpy

                      • 1 vote
                      Reply#24 - Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:41 PM EST

                      Visit where everyday is a Blackfriday. Clearnance deals from top retailers. is the place to find deal posted which are refreshed every hour.

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