By Samantha Christmann
NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER
Retailers are beginning to release their Black Friday hours and, once again, many stores will open smack-dab in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Walden Galleria will kick off the Black Friday at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.
Kohl’s department stores will also open at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
It joins Macy’s, the first retailer to announce its hours this year, which is also bumping its opening time to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
In years past, the Boulevard Mall has had as many as 45 retailers open at midnight on Black Friday. This year, it is set to open at 6 a.m. Friday, but is still talking with retailers who might want to open earlier to match anchor Macy’s 6 p.m. opening time on Thanksgiving. The mall’s doors will be open at 6 p.m. that day to accommodate Macy’s.
Several other retailers are expected to jump start the holiday shopping season to capitalize on sales. Target, Sears and JC Penney have not yet disclosed their Black Friday hours, but each of them opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving last year. Kmart opened at 6 a.m. last Thanksgiving.
The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls will open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, earlier than its usual midnight. Eastern Hills Mall had planned to open at midnight on Thanksgiving, but is now considering a 6 p.m. opening. McKinley Mall will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving; its Old Navy store will open earlier, at 4 p.m.
Other stores are standing firm against the increased pressure from competitors to open early.
MacSolutions Plus at Eastern Hills Mall will not open until 7 a.m. Black Friday, the latest time allowed by its landlord.
The store opened at midnight Black Friday two years ago, but it wasn’t worth it for owner Garret Cleversley, who said sales didn’t pick up until about 11 a.m. that Friday anyway. He didn’t get a single sale between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., and didn’t start seeing customers until the department stores had ended their timed “doorbuster” deals.
More importantly, he said, the later start time allows him to enjoy Thanksgiving with his family.
“That family time is far more important than only sleeping for a few hours just to open at midnight in hopes of a couple extra customers,” Cleversley said. “Our specials are the same from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., so we tell our customers to sleep in, enjoy the moments you spend with your family, and we’ll be here when you get up.”
Vidler’s 5 and 10 in East Aurora will remain closed on Thanksgiving and open at 9 a.m. the following day.
Texas-based video game seller GameStop said it will remain closed on Thanksgiving out of respect for its employees. Marshall’s, Barnes and Noble, Radio Shack, Burlington Coat Factory and TJ Maxx all declined to open on the holiday last year.
Holiday shopping can account for as much as 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. Last year, stores reaped $57.4 billion in sales over Black Friday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.