For a minute there, when Mall of America made the surprise announcement that it would be closed on Thanksgiving, it looked like this would be the year that Black Friday shopping madness subsided, or at least retreated to Friday. The public response to Mall of America’s commitment to give the holiday back to workers was so positive, it seemed certain other malls and big box offenders would follow MOA’s lead.
Not so much.
Macy’s is opening an hour earlier than last year. Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and the usual suspects will all be open in the evening on Thanksgiving, and so will most of the Twin Cities’ regional malls. And they do have numbers to back up that decision: last year, Thanksgiving Day was the No. 2 in-store shopping day of the year, according to NPD Group, and Black Friday was No. 1. That’s based on the average amount spent per shopper. There were fewer people at the stores, but those who went, spent more.
Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $935.58 this holiday season—4 percent more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation. And this Thanksgiving weekend, 137.4 million people are expected to shop.
One change this year: fewer stores staying open for more than 24 hours straight. Given the middle-of-the-night lull that occurs, most big box stores and malls that are opening in the evening on Thanksgiving are opting to close around midnight or 1 a.m. and reopen early Friday.
Still, the Thanksgiving shopping backlash is growing, with some retailers that aren’t opening on the holiday, like R.E.I. and Von Maur, playing up their family focus. And there are plenty of boutiques trying to shift the energy of the weekend to supporting local business and doing good rather than getting deals. But getting a discount remains the top reason for shopping Black Friday weekend, by a long shot, according to A.T. Kearney’s 2016 Holiday Shopping Survey.
So here are the things to know:
- Find more Thanksgiving Day online deals. Many retailers are releasing some of their best discounts on Thanksgiving Day, including Kohl’s and JC Penney.
- Many deals are the same this year. A Wall Street Journal article noted that 80% of products and more than 40% of prices in major chains’ Black Friday circulars were identical from 2014 to 2015, according to price data from Market Track.
- Biggest Black Friday discounts will be on toys. Followed by apparel and accessories, computers and phones.
- Using a retailer’s app might open additional discounts.
- Most retailers post their deals early — now!—so you can plan ahead.
- Check websites like DealNews.com and BlackFriday.com for round-ups of best offers.
- It’s Black Friday all month. Amazon has already released many of its holiday deals, and will extend them through Dec. 22, with deals every 5 minutes! Each day, look for up to 20 deals of the day. $20 off a Kindle, 40% off some toys.
Thanksgiving Day Store Openings
3 p.m.: JCPenny
4 p.m.: Old Navy (most locations)
5 p.m.: Best Buy (until 1 a.m. at most locations), Macy’s (until 2 a.m. at most locations), Toys R’Us
6 p.m.: Kohl’s, Michaels, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, Eden Prairie Center, Twin Cities Premium Outlets, Albertville Premium Outlets (until 2 a.m.), Rosedale Center (until Midnight), Ridgedale Center (until 12 a.m.), Southdale Center (until 1 a.m.), Maplewood Mall (until 1 a.m.)
Note: Mall of America will be open in the morning for the Walk to End Hunger. The mall will close at noon. Only stores with their own exterior entrances will be open on Thursday, they are Macy’s, Sears, and Crayola Experience
Black Friday Early Openings
5 a.m.: Mall of America
6 a.m.: Albertville Premium Outlets, Maplewood Mall, Burnsville Center, Rosedale Center, Ridgedale Center, Southdale Center, Macy’s, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot
7 a.m.: HomeGoods, Marshalls, Michaels, PetSmart, Sam’s Club
8 a.m.: Best Buy, Hobby Lobby
9 a.m.: Costco, Galleria
Black Friday Local Shopping Alternatives
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Infuse some culture into your morning by heading to Mia first. From 6-10 a.m., enjoy free entry into the new exhibit, Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation, free coffee, and treats, plus 25 percent off purchases at the Store at Mia. 2400 3rd Ave. S., Mpls., artsmia.org
Plaid Friday Twin Cities. Dozens of local retailers are participating in an alternative campaign to Black Friday aimed at encouraging people to support small retailers while holiday shopping. plaidfridaytwincities.com
Stillwater’s Sleepyhead Downtown Door Busters. No one is at full function at 6 a.m.— especially after the Thanksgiving feast. That’s why downtown Stillwater merchants are opening at 9 a.m. with deals and the promise of a Santa sighting. discoverstillwater.com
Christkindlsmarkt. If fighting people for cheap TVs isn’t your idea of the holiday spirit, this German-inspired open-air market in Excelsior is perfect antidote. There’s a parade, a beer garden, live music, and plenty of sausage and strudel. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27. excelsiorchristkindlsmarkt.com
Light up the Lake Celebration in Wayzata. Enjoy horse drawn wagonette rides along Lake Street, a candy cane hunt at the Depot, live music, and attend a tree lighting ceremony with the mayor. 4-7 p.m.
Askov Finlayson’s Second Annual Weekend of Giving. The North Loop men’s store will donate 10 percent of all proceeds in-store and online to Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. On Friday, Swiss watchmaker Tudor will match Askov’s donation and also provide providing complimentary coffee in The Bachelor Farmer’s cafe. Together, Askov and Tudor will donate $500 for every Tudor watch sold. Friday-Monday. 204 N. First St., Mpls., askovfinlayson.com
Creative Kidstuff Black Friday. For the first time ever, the Minneapolis-based toy store will offer 25 percent off storewide until 1 p.m. creativekidstuff.com
Small Business Saturday
What started years ago as an American Express Campaign has become a vital day to show your support for independent shops. Boutiques across the Twin Cities will celebrate the holiday weekend with festive shopping parties, and in some cases, deals. Here are just a few to note:
50th & France Holiday Market and Tree Lighting Ceremony. Nine artisans will sell their goods in the walkway by The Optical and Breadsmith in the clock tower building from Noon to 5 p.m. and many of the stores will be offering specials and refreshments. Join Santa, carolers, and Edina Mayor Jim Hovland for the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Learn more about boutique sales and events in our shopping calendar.