Best Buy won’t be pulling an all-nighter on Thanksgiving.
While most big-box stores opening that night will keep their doors open for more than 24 hours straight, the Richfield-based electronics chain doesn’t think it’s worth the extra cost and headache.
Best Buy will open most of its stores an hour earlier than last year, at 5 p.m. on that Thursday. But then it will close its stores at 1 a.m. and reopen them at 8 a.m. on the actual Black Friday.
Jeff Shelman, a company spokesman, noted that traffic slows “considerably” in the overnight hours on Thanksgiving night, especially as the sales have been starting earlier.
“This will give our employees an opportunity to rest and get some sleep,” he said. “It also gives us an opportunity to clean and refresh our stores between Thursday night and Friday morning.”
While other retailers acknowledge that shopping tends to taper off around 1 or 2 a.m., many are reticent to close for fear of losing out on sales to its competitors during the closely watched battle for shoppers’ dollars.
RadioShack, the small-footprint electronics chain, will join Best Buy in closing for several hours. It is opening many of its stores at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving for the first time and will close them at midnight before reopening at 5 a.m. Friday.
Minneapolis-based Target said on Monday that it will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, joining many other major retailers, and will stay open until late Friday night.
Kmart, which will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving as it has for many years, will stay open for 42 straight hours.
Most stores at the Mall of America will probably open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will likely stay open all night, mall spokesman Dan Jasper said.
“I don’t know if any will close in the middle of the night,” he said. “I don’t remember anyone doing that last year.”
He recalled that the mall stayed quite crowded until about 2 a.m. last year and then died down for a few hours until the next wave of shoppers hit around 5 or 6 a.m.
Wal-Mart, which keeps most of its stores open 24 hours year-round, is expecting its biggest crush of shoppers to come for its first round of doorbusters at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the same times as last year, said Duncan Mac Naughton, the retailer’s chief merchandising officer. He said stores will probably stay busy until midnight and then will pick up again early Friday morning when the next round of deals starts around 6 a.m.
He added that Wal-Mart decided not to inch its first in-store sale earlier this year because customers said they wanted to be able to spend time with their families earlier in the day.
“The customer told us 6 o’clock, and that’s where we landed,” he said during a conference call with reporters.
Two bargain-hungry customers are so excited about Black Friday that they have been lined up outside of a Best Buy store in Beaumont, Calif., east of Los Angeles, since last Wednesday.
Vicky Torres said she’s willing to camp outside the Best Buy entrance for what will be three weeks so she can get a deal on a new television.
Torres and friend Juanita Salas, who have folding chairs, sleeping bags and pillows for comfort, give each other breaks from time to time to allow the other to grab a bite to eat and take a shower.
Torres said she passes the time “sitting here and watching people. … My daughter checks on me all the time,” sometimes with the four grandchildren in tow.
Reaction from passersby has been mixed as to what has become an annual event for Torres and Salas.
“The employees like me,” Torres said. As for the customers, she added, “Some say that’s dedication, and others say that’s stupid.”