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Macy's Inc. says it will open all of its namesake stores at midnight following Thanksgiving for the first time as the department store operator becomes the latest retailer to expand hours on the traditional kickoff to the holiday season.
That's four hours earlier than last year. The Macy's stores, which number more than 800, will stay open for 23 hours straight and close at 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.
Target Corp. announced on Friday that it was also opening its doors at midnight for the first time ever and will be offering Black Friday specials starting at that time. It also plans to stay open 23 hours. Last year, the discounter had opened its stores at 4 a.m.
"People want to shop through the night," said Martine Reardon, Macy's executive vice president of marketing. She noted the expanded hours were in response to customers' requests.
Last year, Macy's opened eight stores at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. The rest of the stores were open at 4 a.m. Reardon said that the midnight openings were successful.
Reardon also offered a sneak peak at some of the deals shoppers can find starting at midnight following their turkey dinner: 40 percent off select coffee makers, tea kettles and espresso makers, and a $65 Justin Bieber limited-edition fragrance gift set, which includes a 3.4 ounce eau de parfum spray and the singer's new holiday CD. Macy's is also discounting Rampage boots to $19.99, down from a range of $49 to $59.
The Cincinnati company also operates 41 Bloomingdale's stores, which will be opening at 8 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. The stores typically open at 10 a.m. throughout the year.
Retailers have expanded their Black Friday hours each year, and they're also trying to outdo each other by publicizing some of the deals weeks in advance. They also are responding to the growing interest among shoppers who are mapping out their bargain-hunting strategies weeks in advance and scouring online for Black Friday circulars already starting to be leaked by deal sites like Blackfriday.com and Blackfriday2011.com. Only a few years ago, stores kept their discounts and hours secret until a few days before the Thanksgiving weekend.
The season kickoff overtook Thanksgiving Day last year, when most Sears and Kmart stores opened Thanksgiving morning for the first time. Toys R Us stores opened at 10 p.m. Many Gap Inc. stores were open. And Wal-Mart, whose supercenters already operate around the clock, opened most other stores by midnight Thanksgiving evening. More merchants are expected to announce their Thanksgiving weekend plans in the next week or so.