MINNEAPOLIS - On Thanksgiving this year, mixing turkey with shopping is no longer taboo, in fact for some, it's become tradition with both retailers and shoppers testing a new appetite for earlier hours.
Target Corporation and Kohls are the latest retailers to announce their stores will open earlier on Thanksgiving Day this year at 8 p.m.
Target will open an hour earlier than last year. Target stores will remain open throughout the night and close at 11 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday.
"Target is excited to be opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Black Friday is one of the most competitive days in the retail industry and we chose our hours to balance the needs of the business, team members and guests," said spokesperson Erika Winkels, in an emailed statement to KARE 11.
Kohl's notified the media Monday that its stores will open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night as well. A host of other stores are already opening earlier including Sears, J.C. Penney, Toys R Us, and Best Buy.
They have jumped into the trend known as "holiday creep."
"Actually, it's kind of upsetting to me because my mom works for Target so she doesn't get to have the holiday with her family that most people that work 9-5 jobs get to have," said Danielle Helmer, of Minneapolis.
In the past two years, Target employees circulated petitions to save Thanksgiving, with more than 370,000 signatures. So far this season, there's been no sign of the protest as more shoppers accept Black Thursday.
"I might be here Thanksgiving Day, see what they got to offer on sale for a discount, why not?" said Shauntell Martin, a Target customer.
Dave Brennan, co-director of the Institute for Retailing Excellence at the University of St. Thomas, warns retailers could lose momentum as customers become immune to the early promotions.
"There could be some danger by spreading it out over a longer period of time," said Brennan. "I think the retailers are going to find it really difficult to keep customers excited about Christmas when it was spread over two months instead of a single month."
He points to the pressure stores face with six less shopping days this holiday season. He calls the "super Christmas creep" a trend that's here to stay.
"Once you have started doing things, there is no way back. None of the retailers want to have anybody take advantage of them. As long as one does it, others will follow," said Brennan.
"I just think it should be left a family day. It just gets earlier and earlier every year," said Cheryl Mueller of La Crosse, Wis.
Complaints aside, when doors open, customers still wait with an earlier appetite.
"Those ideas are changing about Thanksgiving and stuff. It's still a family day. People can go out together and shop," said Martin.
Overall, the National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, expects an increase in holiday sales for the November-December period, up from 3.5 percent last year.
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