Several retailers will have their earliest Thanksgiving openings today in an attempt to satisfy shoppers who want a shorter wait between finishing their turkey dinners and starting to seek Black Friday discounts.
J.C. Penney will open at 5 p.m., three hours earlier than last year, the first time it was open on Thanksgiving.
The 156-year-old Macy’s chain will open its stores at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year, the first time it was open on Thanksgiving.
Target will open at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year, three hours earlier than 2012 and six hours earlier than 2011, when its midnight opening was the earliest ever.
Sears will open at 6 p.m. after opening at 8 p.m. each of the past two Thanksgivings.
Sears had been closed on Thanksgiving from its founding in 1886 through 2009, was open from 7 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving in 2010 and closed on Thanksgiving in 2011.
Kmart, which will be open on Thanksgiving for the 23rd consecutive year, will open at 6 a.m., the same time as each of the past two years.
Toys R Us will open at 5 p.m. the same time as last year, three hours earlier than 2012, four hours earlier than 2011 and five hours earlier than 2010, the first time it was open on Thanksgiving.
Retailers have drawn criticism for opening on Thanksgiving because of the disruption it causes in the lives of their employees and for dividing families on a holiday known for bringing them together.
Many stores staff Thanksgiving with seasonal employees and those who volunteer to work and pay them time-and-a-half.
YouGov/Huffington Post polls each of the past two years found overwhelming opposition to stores opening on Thanksgiving.
The survey of 1,000 adults conducted Nov. 19-20 found that 73 percent of those surveyed felt retailers should close stores on Thanksgiving, while 16 percent said the stores should be open and 11 percent were not sure.
A year ago, 74 percent felt stores should be closed on Thanksgiving.
This year’s poll had a margin of error of 4 percent and last year’s 4.6 percent.
The National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey found that of the 60.1 percent of the adults surveyed who said they would or might shop during Thanksgiving weekend, 18.3 percent said they would shop on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving shopping proved more popular with younger adults than their older counterparts, according to the survey of 6,593 adults conducted Nov. 3- 10. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percent.
Of respondents who said they would or might shop during Thanksgiving weekend, 22.6 percent of the 18-24 year-olds said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving, 27.5 percent of the 25-34 year olds said they would and 24.2 of the 35-44 year olds.
However, 17.4 percent of those 45-54 years old said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving, 11.9 percent of the 55-64 year olds and 7.1 percent of those 65 and older.
“For younger shoppers, shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is as much a social experience as it is a buying mission,” said Pam Goodfellow, the principal analyst of Prosper Insights & Analytics, which conducted the survey.
“While these shoppers may not have the biggest holiday budgets or the longest shopping lists, they still enjoy the tradition of heading out with friends and family on two of retail’s most exciting days.”