- Created on 12 November 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — Last Thanksgiving Day, Kimberly Mudge Via's mother, sister and nieces left in the middle of their meals to head for the mall.
Now, Via says she'll never host Thanksgiving dinner for her relatives again.
"They barely finished," says the 28-year-old who lives in Boone, N.C. "They thanked me and left their plates on the counter."
That scene could become more common in homes across the country. Black Friday shopping, the annual rite of passage on the day after Thanksgiving, continues to creep further into the holiday as more stores open their doors a day early.
It's a break with tradition. Black Friday, which typically is the year's biggest shopping day, for a decade has been considered the official start to the busy holiday buying season. Stores open in the wee hours of the morning with special deals called doorbusters and stay open late into the evening. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving and Christmas remained the only two days a year that stores were closed.
Now Thanksgiving is slowly becoming just another shopping day. Over the past few years, major retailers, including Target and Toys R Us, slowly have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night to one-up each other and compete for holiday dollars. Some initially resisted, saying that they wanted their employees to be able to spend time with their families.
This year, Macy's, Wal-Mart and Kohl's are among at least a dozen major retailers that are opening on Thanksgiving. Several are opening for the first time, and others, including Gap, are opening earlier on the holiday than they did last year.
- Created on 12 November 2013
(AP Photo / J Pat Carter, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Thanksgiving and Black Friday store hours for several major retailers:
Best Buy Stores - Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 10 p.m. on Friday.
J.C. Penney - Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 9 p.m. on Friday.
Kohl's - Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until midnight on Saturday.
Macy's - Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until about 10 p.m. on Friday at most stores
Sears - Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Kmart - Open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving until 11 p.m. on Friday.
Staples - Open at 8 p.m. until midnight on Friday. Reopen at 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday.
Target - Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 11 p.m. on Friday.
Toys R Us - Open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Wal-Mart - Open 24 hours at most stores.
- Created on 12 November 2013
(AP Photo / Jae C. Hong, File)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it will start offering its holiday deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores — two hours earlier than last year.
The world's largest retailer will stagger holiday deals throughout the night and into "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving that's traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.
The company also said that it will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent and double the number of tablet computers for sale that weekend. It's also bulking up the list of guaranteed popular items that it will sell in designated sections of its store to 21, from three last year.
Wal-Mart is responding to what's expected to be a fiercely competitive holiday shopping season. Black Friday has traditionally been the official kickoff to the period, but in the last few years, that start has crept into Thanksgiving. This year, stores including Macy's Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl's Corp. are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving evening. And other stores, including Best Buy Co., announced earlier on Thanksgiving.
Most of Wal-Mart's 4,000 U.S. namesake stores are already open 24 hours year-round. But the company is concentrating on offering 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," McNaughton said.
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.
- Created on 11 November 2013
Amazon is offering the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service a lifeline, The Washington Post reported.
On Monday, the online retailer announced plans to use the postal service to deliver packages to U.S. customers seven days a week.
Thanks to the new deal, Amazon customers will pay regular mailing rates for weekend deliveries, The Los Angeles Times reported. In the past, a Sunday delivery sent via Express Mail cost extra.
Amazon will launch the new Sunday service in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas immediately, just in time for the holiday shopping rush. The rest of the country will follow suit in 2014.
To handle the additional mail load, the Postal Service will use its flexible scheduling of employees, USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan said. The USPS isn't planning to hire additional workers.
The partnership is expected to help the Postal Service, which lost $16 billion in the last year. Prior to the partnership, the USPS had been asking Congress for the authority to end Saturday delivery of letters in an effort to cut costs. According to The New York Times, the move will also help the Postal Service in its competition against United Parcel Service and FedEx.