With the "Black Friday creep" in full swing, Black Friday has become a thing of the past. It might as well now be called Black Thursday, as many retailers are choosing to open their doors on Thanksgiving, rather than wait to kick off their holiday sales the following day.
That's exactly what Toys 'R' Us plans on doing. The toy retailer will be opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year, just like it did last year. Stores like Khol's and Macy's will also be embracing the creep, as the two department stores will open at 6 p.m. this year, two hours earlier than last year.
"We saw that people really enjoyed the early opening, and frankly we saw the sales on Black Friday itself being very strong," Toys 'R' Us chief merchandising officer Richard Barry tells Fortune. "There wasn't as much pressure on that 10 p.m. or midnight time. It was more spread out and people had a more civilized shopping experience."
The store will be using a few new ideas in order to make the Black Friday rush go smoother than ever before. Express lanes at checkout will get customers with only a few items in and out of the store quickly, while also having a new barcode system for customers who have their carts filled to brim with merchandise. Toys 'R' Us will also place "Gurus" at the front of the store to help customers navigate to what products they might be shopping for.
Black Friday seems to begin earlier and earlier every year, but stores wouldn't do it if the sales weren't there. Despite groans from many, people turn up in droves to Thanksgiving Day sales. It beats waiting in line at midnight or waking up at the crack of dawn to be the first into a store.
Amazon is kicking off the holiday rush earlier than ever before when they started some of their Black Friday deals on Nov. 1, and will continue doing special Black Friday offers all month. Black Friday's creep into Thanksgiving itself is largely thanks to online retailers like Amazon. Since customers could skip out on waiting in line at 6 a.m. Friday morning, they could instead order gifts from the comfort of home, forcing retailers like Toys 'R' Us to open earlier and earlier in order to compete.
Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr (cropped)