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Thursday is the new black

Customers wait in line to enter a Best Buy electronics store on Nov. 27, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kai Ryssdal: We've got about two weeks until what has somehow become the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. It is, of course, the day after Thanksgiving -- Black Friday as it's called. And if you follow these things, you probably know a lot of retailers are starting their big markdowns at midnight that Friday.

Which, if you still want it to be Friday, would be the earliest possible start time. Well, today Walmart said I'll see your midnight and raise you 10 p.m. Black Friday deals are going to start on Thursday this year -- as in Thanksgiving.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports on what's becoming a very busy graveyard shift.


Jennifer Collins: Dev Shapiro is one of those shoppers who camps out for about a week to be the first in line.

Dev Shapiro: Yeah, I've been doing Thanksgiving in the parking lot of Best Buy for the last eight years.

He also is the spokesman for a Black Friday sale tracker, GottaDeal.com.

Shapiro: Let me bring up my list here.

At 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, some Walmart clothes and housewares go on sale.

Shapiro: At midnight: Best Buy, Kohl's, Macy's, ShopKo, Target.

We've got to speed this up -- he's more than 20 stores on this list.

Shapiro: And then at 9 a.m., the last store that opens is La-Z-Boy.

Appropriate. John Long of the firm Kurt Salmon says stores open earlier every year -- for a good reason.

John Long: Because to some degree, the only growth that retailers are seeing in the marketplace today is growth off the backs of competitors.

And while he says the day after Thanksgiving may represent 1 percent of annual sales for many retailers...

Long: Black Friday isn't necessarily their biggest shopping day.

More likely, it's in the top five. Analyst Anthony Chukumba of BB&T Capital Markets says that's because a lot of consumers "cherry pick" the best deals.

Anthony Chukumba: People go into the stores just looking to get that $299, 42-inch LCD TV, and once they have their hands on that, they don't really buy anything else.

So why open early?

Chukumba: It's for the publicity, it's to create a frenzy, it's to create excitement.

Ah. I guess I was kind of part of that today.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.
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