Get on your marks, shoppers. The big day is almost here.
Never before has Black Friday been so scattered and segmented. The official kickoff to the holiday shopping season begins on Thanksgiving at some stores, on Friday in others. Some stores open before dinner, some open after dinner, and some don't open on Thanksgiving at all. Some stores will open on Thanksgiving, close for a short break, then reopen again on Black Friday, while others will remain open around the clock.
Opinions vary on whether Black Friday still has the best deals or not. A study by WalletHub found 8 percent of Black Friday deals have lower everyday prices on Amazon, while just 22 percent of the deals it studied offered the best price on Black Friday. It also found that the average savings offered on Black Friday is 37 percent, so consider using that as a benchmark when comparing prices.
With store hours varying so widely, it's more important than ever to have a shopping strategy planned out in advance. Plot out your favorite doorbusters and must-hit deals, map a schedule to hit them first, and plot out parking spots closest to your destinations. Then double-knot your sneakers, grab your phone charger and hit the stores. Whether you go before or after dinner – or not at all – is up to you.
Many stores, such as anchors and department stores, have their own separate hours.
Boulevard Mall opens at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and closes at 2 a.m. Friday. It reopens at 6 a.m. Friday and closes at 10 p.m.
Eastern Hills Mall is closed on Thanksgiving and will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. It will host a Kickoff Holiday Shopping Bash from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Black Friday, with more than 40 vendors set up inside the mall.
Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls will open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and close at 2 a.m. Black Friday. It will reopen from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The first 100 shoppers will receive a swag bag with a gift card valued from $10 to $100, at mall entrance No. 6, near Saks OFF 5th. There will also be a DJ playing music. The mall will also award special prizes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Black Friday.
McKinley Mall will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through 9 p.m. Friday night.
Walden Galleria will be open from 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving to 2 a.m. Friday morning. It will reopen at 6 a.m. Friday until 10 p.m. Customers who shop at two or more Galleria stores can take their purchases to the customer service desk and receive a free "Big Huge Bag" Walden Galleria tote bag, while supplies last. Stay with partnering hotels, such as the Hampton Inn near the mall, and receive a $25 gift card.
The big boxes
Best Buy opens at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It will close at 1 a.m., then reopen at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.
Big Lots is open from 7 a.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, then reopens from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.
BJ's Wholesale Club will open at 7 a.m. on Black Friday and observe its usual closing hours.
Bon-Ton opens at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving and will remain open through Friday at 11 p.m. The first 200 customers will receive a gift card worth from $5 up to $500.
Cabela's will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. The first 600 people in line Friday will be eligible for prizes.
Dick's Sporting Goods will open at 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving, then reopen from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.
Game Stop's hours vary by store. Most are open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Black Friday. The Walden Galleria store is open from 8 a.m on Thanksgiving to 2 a.m. on Friday, then reopens again from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Hobby Lobby is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday. It's closed Thanksgiving.
Homegoods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx will open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday and are closed on Thanksgiving.
Kohl's will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and close at midnight on Black Friday.
Kmart will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, reopening at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
J.C. Penney will open at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving
Lord & Taylor will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving
Macy's will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving
Office Depot is open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Black Friday. Closed Thanksgiving.
Office Max is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday and closed on Thanksgiving.
Old Navy will open at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Sears opens at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
Target is open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving, then reopens at 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday.
Toys R Us will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open until 11 p.m. Friday.
Walmart's Black Friday deals will begin at 6 p.m. in stores on Thanksgiving, and at 12:01 a.m. online, even though stores will remain open around the clock.
Closed on Thanksgiving
Barnes & Noble
BJ's Wholesale Club
Burlington Coat Factory
DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
Eastern Hills Mall
Jos. A. Bank
Pier 1 Imports