Walmart Will Kick Off Black Friday Deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving

Holiday Shopping
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
By Anne D'Innocenzio

As more stores push for Thanksgiving shoppers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) is stepping up its game for the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

The world's largest retailer said Tuesday that it will start to offer its holiday blockbuster deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores, two hours earlier than last year. It will stagger holiday deals throughout the night and into "Black Friday" - the day that's traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season.

The company will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent and double the number of tablets for sale that weekend, while promising sharper discounts. It's also bulking up the list of guaranteed popular items that it will sell in designated sections of its store to 21, from just three last year.

Wal-Mart is responding to what's expected to be a fiercely competitive holiday shopping season, the busiest time of the year for retailers. The Friday after Thanksgiving has traditionally been the official kickoff to the period, but in the last few years, that start has increasingly crept into Thanksgiving as stores realize they need to be the first ones to grab shoppers' dollars. This year, stores including Macy's Inc. (M), J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) and Kohl's Corp. (KSS) are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving evening.

Best Buy Co. (BBY) announced that it was opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, earlier than last year's midnight opening. Toys R Us said that it will open at 5 p.m. on the holiday, three hours earlier than last year.

Most of Wal-Mart's 4,000 U.S. namesake stores are already open 24 hours year-round. But it's now concentrating the holiday deals on Thanksgiving.

During a media call Monday, Duncan McNaughton, executive vice president and chief merchandising and marketing officer at Wal-Mart's U.S. namesake division, said the discounter carefully studied the competitive landscape when it decided to start the deals earlier at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.

"Everyone's moved up this year so it will be a new dynamic," said McNaughton.

For online shoppers, Wal-Mart will be offering special deals starting Thanksgiving morning, some of which will be the same as those offered at the sales events at the stores later in the evening.

The stakes are high for retailers since the holiday season accounts for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, expects an increase of 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion in holiday sales.

There's also more pressure on retailers this year because the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is six days shorter than in 2012.

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Well...what kind of junk is everyone going to have(cough).. on sale... this year...

November 14 2013 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We'll be busy eating turkey at 6 p.m.

November 13 2013 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wont matter to me what time they open, I don't buy gifts or anything for the holidays for anyone, its not what the holidays are about and the reason we have them in the first place.

November 13 2013 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elle Weathers

Cracker Barrell my place of employment is open on Thanksgiving. They say it's one of the busiest days for them. So much for caring about family time...

November 13 2013 at 7:08 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Elle Weathers's comment

I know I'm appalled to discover Cracker Barrell would dare serve families who want to spend time together going out to dinner on a holiday. Especially when so many families seek to do just that as witnessed by their crowded Thanksgiving Day restaurants. If they really cared about families, they'd open their restaurants when nobody wanted to go.

November 13 2013 at 9:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

And let's not forget the evil airlines who remain open on Thanksgiving to fly people around the country so their passengers can spend the holiday with family members, some of whom might actually choose to go out to dinner at a Cracker Barrell..

November 13 2013 at 10:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I used to enjoy Black Friday shopping. Especially, standing out in the cold with a bunch of strangers just socializing and drinking hot chocolate to keep warm while waiting on the stores to open. These Thursday openings have ruined the entire experience and intrude on a holiday that should be shared with family and friends. Thanks to all the retailers who are taking away their employees from their families during this holiday all so they can have a few extra hours of holiday sales. Despicable!

November 13 2013 at 5:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kingshark75's comment

Wow. I starting writing almost the same thing till I scrolled down. I started mine out with, "Sorry Grandma. I know this may be our last Thanksgiving together, but I have to leave to try to get a 60' TV." I can still remember the first time I took my 5 year old with me. He couldn't figure out why we couldn't go in the store yet. Then afterwards we would go get some breakfast.
I think Walmart is the one who started all this. I won't even bother shopping there because of this. I can find sales at other places.
Plus, it is putting more police officers out there, for the crazy drivers. It puts more staff in the ER because of the crazy drivers, ruining their Thanksgiving. Thank you Walmart, for being such a 'family orientated' business.

November 13 2013 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Went shopping once on black fri.,never again and that was over 20 yrs ago.

November 13 2013 at 5:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I haven't been to a Wal-Mart in years and things like this make me glad I shop at my local grocery store. They ( MY local store) will be closed all day Thanksgiving so their employee's can enjoy the day with their family. Not these heartless money grubbing big chains like Wal-mart and K-Mart and heavens only knows who else. Holidays are just that, holidays. Let your employee's spend time with their family. You really need money that bad????????

November 12 2013 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DOUG's comment

And yet, many places remain open 24/7..... Police Dept, Fire Dept, Hospitals.

November 13 2013 at 6:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Michele's comment

These people choose that career. They also choose what holidays they get off. They may get Thanksgiving off and then work on Christmas. Then the next year they work on Thanksgiving and get Christmas off.

November 13 2013 at 9:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Sorta like retail workers, you mean?

November 13 2013 at 10:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

why are all you idiots blame Walmart for opening on Thanksgiving evening> no one blame Kmart for open at Thanksgiving morning? or every other store that open on Thanksgiving evening also, are you all Union brainwashed?? wake up people

November 12 2013 at 11:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Just avoid Walmart. Simple. I have not shopped there in almost a year and am none the poorer for shopping elsewhere. I have a family member who worked there (just terminated two weeks before receiving her annual bonus). Her stories over the year have been shocking. All I'll advise is never, ever eat produce from Walmart, store prepared foods or fresh mean. Ever. They are retail pimps to their employees and vendors. We have the power to stop them, just don't shop there. Shop local, keep your hard earned dollars in your community, supporting your community through local taxes etc. If we all had the discipline to avoid Walmart, they might relent. (I doubt it, they'd just go to India and rape their consumers. but worth a try.)

November 12 2013 at 10:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tickertin's comment

Have you been a victim all your life, or is this a recent hobby?

November 12 2013 at 10:22 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I think retailers are totally oblivious to what the "Holidays" represent. They are all about the "all mighty dollar" and it doesn't matter to them if people want to spend these times with their families, which most of these employees were brought up with those values. I have known Walmart to threaten employees if they did not work on Thanksgiving that they will be fired. That is so wrong. What are kids these days being taught.....that material things mean more then being with family. Material things break and there is always something better the next year. Family is family and those memories are what is to be treasured. Shame on all of these retailers for taking away the true meaning of Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Bringing Christmas out on the shelves way before Halloween, shame on you. And then on Halloween, I watched as Walmart employees were taking all the Halloween items out of the seasonal isle and by noon, half of the isle was filled with Christmas items. The ONLY reference to Thanksgiving I saw was 2 small displays of Thanksgiving table cloths, napkins, paper plates,....items like that. What is next???? Christmas in July that lasts for longer then July and they just mash the holidays all together from July to December??? I can not believe that they are opening even sooner now on Thanksgiving. I do not participate in Black Friday, nor will I ever and NEVER will I consider going out on Thanksgiving to make these companies think that they are doing the right thing. Shame, shame, shame on you.

November 12 2013 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Terri's comment

What kids are being taught is if you don't like your working conditions, you have the freedom to change your work, thus changing your work conditions.

November 12 2013 at 10:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Holy cow terri....don't open a retail'll fail miserably.

November 12 2013 at 10:25 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply