The Definitive Guide to Black Friday Hours and Specials

Photo (cc) by The Pug Father

Fading are the days of waking up at 4 a.m. to be one of the first people to wait in a long Black Friday line.

The sales start earlier than ever this year, as the year’s biggest retail holiday continues to carve into our Thanksgiving meal time – and even creep into our Thanksgiving prep time on Wednesday.

But that’s a good thing for die-hard shoppers: The more sales are staggered, the more sales shoppers can take advantage of.

There’s one drawback, though. Hitting up multiple Black Friday sales at their peak times takes a little planning. So to help you schedule your shopping, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about these stores. For more details, click on a store’s name to be directed to their Black Friday website.

Once you’ve plotted out your shopping plans, confirm your local stores’ hours before heading out, as some state laws prohibit stores from opening on Thanksgiving.

Big-box stores

Kmart

  • Open: Thursday at 8 p.m. (locations)
  • Online sales start: Thursday at 5 a.m.
  • Specials: Three rounds of in-store doorbusters start on Thanksgiving morning: Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m. to Friday at 3 a.m., Friday from 5 to 11 a.m. (see their 48-page Black Friday ad to preview the doorbusters). Online doorbusters have slightly different hours: Thursday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday at 7 p.m. to Friday at 5 a.m., Friday from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Target

Walmart

  • Stores open: Thursday at 8 p.m. (locations)
  • Online sales start: Thursday
  • Specials: The One-Hour Guarantee is on Thursday from 10 to 11 p.m. If you’re in the store and in line during that time frame, they guarantee you that these three electronics will be in stock: 16 GB iPad 2 with WiFi ($399 plus a free $75 gift card), LG Blu-ray player ($38), Emerson 32-inch 720p LCD-TV ($148).

Department stores

JCPenney

  • Stores open: Friday at 6 a.m. (locations)
  • Online sales start: Thursday
  • Specials: Thanks to JCPenney’s new pricing structure, which replaced random sales with regularly scheduled sales and ended coupons in favor of everyday low prices (see What Shoppers Can Learn From JCPenney’s Loss), there’s nothing special about their Black Friday sale. Their attempt to minimize long lines is pretty cool, though: They say employees throughout the store will carry mobile checkout devices.

Kohl’s

  • Stores open: Friday at midnight
  • Online sales start: Wednesday
  • Specials: All shoppers (in-store and online) earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 they spend – with no limit on how much you can earn. In-store early-bird specials start when stores open, and online early-bird specials start on Wednesday (see their Black Friday ad to preview the doorbusters).

Macy’s

  • Stores open: Friday at midnight (locations)
  • Online sales start: Thursday
  • Specials: N/A

Sears

  • Stores open: Thursday at 8 p.m. (locations)
  • Online sales start: Wednesday at 9 p.m.
  • Specials: More than 1,000 doorbusters will be available throughout their 26-hour-long Black Friday event (see their Black Friday ad to preview doorbusters).

Toys and tech

Best Buy

  • Stores open: Friday at midnight (locations)
  • Online sales start: Thursday
  • Specials: In-store doorbusters start when stores open (see their Black Friday website on Thursday to preview the doorbusters).

Toys R Us

  • Stores open: Thursday at 8 p.m. (locations)
  • Online sales start: Thursday
  • Specials: The first 200 shoppers in line at each store will get a free Great Big Goody Bag, which is stuffed with $30’s worth of items from companies like Crayola and Lego. In-store doorbusters start when stores open (see their Black Friday press release to preview the doorbusters – they’re not releasing their Black Friday ad till Thursday).

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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