“I can hardly sleep, I’m so excited!” Stores open earlier for Black Friday; some won’t open at all

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GREENFIELD -- Online shopping trends are leading to a conflict for retailers who rely on Thanksgiving weekend for a major percentage of their sales, with some stores opening earlier than ever and others staying closed.

The outdoor store REI, which has a location in Brookfield, will be closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, with company executives paying their employees not to work.

"We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles," company CEO Jerry Stritzke said.


While JCPenney gets a jump on the competition, REI in Brookfield won't be open at all.

The National Retail Federation is predicting that online sales will increase by 6 to 8 percent this year, meaning stores will get plenty of revenue even if they don't open their doors. Some retailers, such as Walmart, have latched onto the trend and will offer online shoppers the same deals found in stores.

Yet many retailers plan to target brick-and-mortar shoppers like never before. JCPenney at Southridge Mall will open at 3 p.m. this year, hours earlier than the rest of the mall.

"We definitely want to get a jump on the competition," said Laura Muench, the store's general manager. "There are families who’ve made a tradition of shopping on black Friday and coming out for the great deals. They come out as a family and shop, and that’s what we’re catering to."

The store will offer its lowest prices between 3 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday, but Muench said shoppers still have the best chance of finding deals during the first rush on Thanksgiving.



Walmart will offer its best deals, such as an ultra-high definition TV for $689, to its customers starting at 6 p.m. Thursday. But those deals will also be available online, said Erica Jones, a spokeswoman for the retailer.

Shoppers can find other sale-priced items online at midnight Thursday, she said.



"If you want to go online and start doing your shopping a little early while you’re basting the turkey or doing your meal prep, you can start shopping online early instead of waiting 'til 6 p.m. that night to come into the store," Jones said.

While some customers said they'd made a tradition of shopping on Thanksgiving, some of REI's loyalists praised the company for scrapping the traditional Black Friday deals.

"I respect that," said customer Mary Johnsen. "I think it`s a holiday you should spent with family. There`s 360-some other days that you can shop."

Will you be shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday? CLICK HERE for everything you need to know, before you go -- the ULTIMATE Black Friday shopping guide, courtesy of FOX6!

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