It’s back to the future for America’s retailers. For the first time in more than a decade, the so-called “Super Bowl of Retail,” Black Friday, will start in the early hours of well, Friday, rather than Thanksgiving.
In the wake of the 2008 Great Recession, retailers, desperate for sales, started opening earlier and earlier every year, until opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving became the norm for most big chains about four years ago. (Some, like J.C. Penney, went even further, opening at 3 p.m. in recent years.)
But with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing stores to limit the number of shoppers allowed inside at any one time, and online sales picking up most of the slack, major retailers are largely reverting to the store hours last seen more than a decade ago.
Walmart, traditionally open all day on Thanksgiving so customers can buy food with Black Friday doorbusters starting late afternoon, set the tone in July when it said it would stay closed on Turkey Day for the first time since the 1980s. That gave other retailers, notably Best Buy, Target, and Macy’s the cover to follow suit.
Here are the store hours on Friday, November 27th, for many of America’s largest retailers, with the caveat they might vary by location because of local laws, so double-check before heading out to a specific store.
Walmart: The world’s largest retailer will open at 5 a.m., with many online-only deals having already been offered throughout November. It will limit shopper traffic to about 20% of capacity.
Target: The company is on fire in terms of digital sales, which have more than doubled so far in 2020. That will help as it meters store traffic to make sure crowds don’t build up and opens at 7 a.m., later than most rivals.
Macy’s: The struggling department store, whose Manhattan flagship has traditionally seen throngs of shoppers 15,000 strong at the start of Black Friday sales but won’t this year, will open its doors at 5 a.m.
J.C. Penney: Unlike in recent years when Penney tried to outmaneuver rivals by opening hours even earlier, Penney will open at the same time as Macy’s, 5 a.m.
Kohl’s: Unlike Macy’s and Penney, few Kohl’s stores are in malls. But the retailer goes toe-to-toe in strip centers against Target and Ulta Beauty, among others and is opening earlier than the competition at 5 a.m.
Best Buy: A central player in the Black Friday wars since time immemorial, the electronics retailer is also choosing an early Friday, pre-dawn opening at 5 a.m.
Dick’s Sporting Goods: With running shoes a popular Black Friday indulgence, the sports gear company opens at 5 a.m.
Old Navy: Bucking the early Friday morning opening virtually all retailers have chosen, Old Navy will open stores at the stroke of midnight. Its Gap Inc siblings Banana Republic and The Gap will have varying store hours, a spokeswoman said.
Home Depot: The home improvement chain’s sales have been surging this year and it is hoping for a repeat of last year’s holiday season when Home Depot added a lot more “giftable” items. Its stores open at 6 a.m. Rival chain <strong>Lowe’s</strong> stores will open at each location’s regular business hours on Friday.
Ulta Beauty: The beauty retailer’s Black Friday gets underway at 6 a.m.
Coach, Kate Spade: The two brands are rare among upscale chains to do Black Friday, and their stores will open at 6 a.m.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister: The teen chains will open at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. depending on the individual store.
GameStop: Its stores will open at 7 a.m., with the retailer banking on robust sales of Microsoft’s newly released consoles, PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Barnes & Noble, Petco: The bookseller and the pet store chain will welcome shoppers at 8 a.m.
Saks Fifth Avenue: While the luxury store doesn’t do Black Friday doorbuster, it will open at 9 a.m. to increase its odds of at winning some overflow shopper traffic at the mall.
Nordstrom: The upscale department store is opening an hour earlier than usual at 10 a.m.
Signet Jewelers chains Kay, Jared and Zales will all open at 10 a.m.
Outdoor retailer R.E.I. will remain closed on Friday as is its long held custom.