State News

Retailers Open Doors on Thanksgiving; N.C. Shoppers Take Advantage

Posted November 22, 2007

— The nation's retailers want shoppers to spend less time eating turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving and more time shopping – whether it's online or on land.

For the second year in a row, CompUSA Inc. opened its doors on Thanksgiving. The exception is stores in Massachusetts, where local laws preclude holiday hours. CompUSA also added an extra incentive for consumers this year by providing pumpkin pie for those in line.

Iconic toy store FAO Schwarz – with locations in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas – was set to open its doors on the holiday as well.

In the past, holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day was limited to discount stores like Kmart and Wal-Mart, as well as grocery retailers and 24-hour convenience stores like 7-Eleven Inc. Kmart, operated by Sears Holdings Corp., is taking it one step further, offering for the first time Thanksgiving Day specials on TVs to GPS systems.

"Some people just can't wait until Friday," said Kirsten Whipple, a Sears spokeswoman. "Thanksgiving dinner is done and they have moved on." Kmart's special Thanksgiving deals include an Olevia 32-inch LCD HDTV for $419.99 and a Magellan GPS system for $129.99.

Dozens of shoppers at Kmart in Raleigh, N.C., were met with doughnuts and coffee as early as 7 a.m., and when the store opened, they quickly cleared the shelves of top-selling items: Nintendo's Wii, selling for $249.99; the Magellan Maestro 3100 Navigation System for $129.99 and 32-inch Olevia LCD television for $419.99.

Rick Long was one of the first shoppers in line and snagged his only planned purchase: the 32-inch flat screen.

"There's actually one that's going to be cheaper tomorrow, but there's going to be a bigger line," Long said after hoisting his purchase into the back of his car. "So, I figure paying the extra $20 is worth it."

Joy Greene, a nursing assistant, found Thanksgiving Day shopping to be a delightful interlude.

"Lots of people are home cooking and the store is basically free for me to roam and get what I need," Greene said as she roamed the aisles at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Gates, a suburb of Rochester, New York "It's good. You don't have to push to get this, to get that.

"Turkey's on," she added. "I left my daughter checking on that till I get back."

Ellen Davis, spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, said the Thanksgiving openings may be a way of generating early enthusiasm ahead of a holiday season that's widely expected to be sluggish. Still, she said, no matter how stiff the competition is, for those new in the game, opening on Thanksgiving is still considered a tough decision when weighing employee time off and other factors.

"I think at this point Thanksgiving is still very revered in the retail industry," Davis said. "A lot of retailers just don't want to touch Thursday."

Web shopping is a different matter. More retailers are pushing shoppers to buy online on Thanksgiving, instead of just researching deals for Black Friday, named because it was traditionally when stores became profitable.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which last year offered one or two online specials on Thanksgiving, is offering specials on 20 to 30 products online. is featuring one-day, online-only sales on Thanksgiving – on products including computers, LCD flat-panel TVs and portable DVD players – and free shipping on certain items. Inc. held a poll to allow visitors to vote for items they want to see drastically discounted beginning Thursday. The Web site also is offering shipping incentives and other deals spanning the weekend.

Toys "R" Us' site and are both featuring a slew of online specials just for Thanksgiving. is featuring up to 65 percent savings on everything from Matchbox cars to Spider-Man 3 interactive figures, while is offering up to 60 percent off on select items.

Area shopping malls open early this Friday:

Crabtree Valley Mall, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Triangle Town Center, 7a.m. - 10 p.m.

Cary Town Center, 7a.m. - 10 p.m.

Streets of Southpoint, 5 a.m. -10 p.m.

Northgate Mall, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Cross Creek Mall, 5 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Kohls Opens at 4 a.m.



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  • Angry Grrl Nov 22, 2007

    Good grief. Stay closed, and let the employees have the time off with their families and friends.

  • Greene Giant Nov 22, 2007

    Thanks to Bill, Linda, & Elizabeth & the rest at WRAL who were working today for the news broadcast. We know you would have loved to have been home for Thanksgiving also. Volonda will have to share dinner with two now instead of eating for two. We're sure her husband & she are glad that one more is at the table now. God be with all those who worked today....please not let us forget those in the military. (Many of those are really away from home!) May we truly remember why we have Thanksgiving! We will keep all of you in our prayers.

  • Made In USA Nov 22, 2007

    Tidbit, you saved me some writing. Read the story and was going to post a similar post. Thanks!

  • Tidbit Nov 22, 2007

    I have started banning myself from shopping at stores that stay open for commercial business on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I feel bad for the people who have to work for these companies and miss spending the days with their families and instead have to work time away from their families into their work schedule.
    It's just wrong.

  • melmika Nov 22, 2007

    I work in the vendor buisness and the one fear all vendors have is Wal Mart staying open on Christmas Day. If they do this then all vendors (soda, bread, chips, beer, ect..) will have to show up to keep the shelves full. And eventually other stores will also do the same.

    Turning the last Holiday in America into just another day at work.

  • Bruce Wayne Nov 22, 2007

    Are any holidays sacred from retail anymore? The people working on these days would probably like to have the day off to be with family. I am as big a capitalist as anyone, but open on Thanksgiving Day is too much.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 22, 2007

    The stores have nothing that I would stand in line to purchase. I think the real bargains this year are going to come well after today and tomorrow.