The novelty of scoring Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving, a trend that began a few years ago, may be losing its luster.

An increasing number of stores are opting not to open their doors for Thanksgiving Day shopping, the early—and often controversial—start to the busiest shopping weekend of the year. The nation’s largest mall, Minnesota’s Mall of America, which opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day last year, announced it will be closed this year except for a few individual stores. Office Max and Office Depot, which were both open last year, have decided to change course and stay closed this year instead.

Still, plenty of merchants plan to open for Thanksgiving Day shopping so bargain-obsessed shoppers can get a jump on Black Friday sales.


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Kmart, which caught a lot of flack a few years ago by announcing a marathon 41-hour shopping event beginning 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, will maintain the tradition this year. 

Macy’s plans to open its doors at 5 p.m., an hour earlier than last year. JCPenney is sticking with its 3 p.m. start time. Many stores, including Target, Kohl's, and Best Buy, will start welcoming shoppers as some people are just sitting down for dinner.

And Walmart, which has been conducting business as usual on Thanksgiving since 1988, will continue to do so, according to the company, with most locations open 24 hours. Walmart’s Black Friday deals, however, will not be available in-store until 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, though many will be available all day online.

Protecting the Family

But retailers including Costco, Nordstrom, and Barnes & Noble have refused to surrender to Black Friday creep. Most merchants that remain closed on Thanksgiving Day say they do so because they want their employees to enjoy the holiday with their families.

A GameStop spokeswoman, Jackie Smith, expressed a similar sentiment. “At GameStop, we often use the phrase ‘protect the family’ in reference to our business," she said. "A large part of what that means to us is to not open any of our GameStop, SimplyMac, Spring Mobile, or Cricket Wireless U.S. locations on Thanksgiving Day out of respect for our store associates and their families and friends. We believe it’s the right decision not only for our employees, but also for our customers. Enjoy this time with your loved ones, and we’ll see you on Black Friday.” And for GameStop, Black Friday begins at 5 a.m.

Shoppers Are Divided

In a new study by BestBlackFriday.com, an online guide to holiday shopping deals, more than half of Americans said they’d prefer a blissful shopping-free holiday. They said that all-day shopping hours on Thanksgiving Day are a bad idea that detracts from the traditional celebration. But 18 percent of respondents loved the idea, and 27 percent didn’t care either way. Younger shoppers, those ages 18 to 29, were the biggest cheerleaders in favor of extended Thanksgiving Day shopping; those 60 and older, the most vocal critics.

Stores That Will and Won't Be Open

Retailer

Thanksgiving Day Details

Walmart24 hours, but Black Friday deals begin at 6 p.m.
Kmart

Opens at 6 a.m.

Dollar General

Opens at 7 a.m.

Old Navy

Opens at 4 p.m.

Toys "R" Us

Opens at 5 p.m.

Best Buy

Opens at 5 p.m.

JC Penney

Opens at 3 p.m.

Target

Opens at 6 p.m.

Macy's

Opens at 5 p.m.

Sears

Opens at 6 p.m.

Kohl's

Opens at 6 p.m.

Michael's

Opens at 6 p.m.

Bed Bath & BeyondClosed
GameStopClosed
Home DepotClosed
TJ MaxxClosed
Home GoodsClosed
MarshallsClosed
NordstromClosed

BJ's Wholesale

Closed

Sam's Club

Closed
CostcoClosed
Barnes & NobleClosed