Black Friday 2018: Most Sales Will Start on Thanksgiving Day

Black Friday 2018: Most Sales Will Start on Thanksgiving Day
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Malls may close, but the most popular stores aren't likely to give up their foothold on Thanksgiving's turf anytime soon.

Taking a look at what Black Friday hours the top players have kept over the last nine years, we can see the long, slow march into Thursday:

Black Friday Store Hours 2010-2017

Merchant
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
Walmart
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
10pm Th
12am Fr
5am Fr
Target
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
8pm Th
9pm Th
12am Fr
4am Fr
Best Buy
5pm Th
5pm Th
5pm Th
5pm Th
6pm Th
12am Fr
12am Fr
5am Fr
Kohl's
5pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
8pm Th
12am Fr
12am Fr
3am Fr
JCPenney
2pm Th
3pm Th
3pm Th
5pm Th
8pm Th
6am Fr
4am Fr
4am Fr
Home Depot
6am Fr
6am Fr
6am Fr
5am Fr
5am Fr
5am Fr
5am Fr
5am Fr
Sears
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
8pm Th
8pm Th
4am Fr
4am Fr
Macy's
5pm Th
5pm Th
6pm Th
6pm Th
8pm Th
12am Fr
12am Fr
4am Fr
Kmart
6pm Th
7pm Th
7pm Th
6am Th
6am Th
8pm Th
5am Fr
5am Fr

This should surprise absolutely no one who's paid even the smallest bit of attention to Black Friday over the years, but the data is striking in that it shows that Black Friday sales have been interfering with Thanksgiving dinner since 2013. That's when Walmart, Best Buy and Toys R Us (R.I.P.) all crossed over into hours traditionally reserved for Americans' evening meals.

It's telling that despite several years of public backlash, the retailers in our chart haven't pulled back at all. On the contrary, it seems as though they've settled in. The message is clear: So long as shoppers are lining up, outrage will take a backseat to profit.

Smaller stores will close in greater numbers.

Sure, the smaller stores you typically find inside malls are more likely to close, partly under pressure from so many malls across the country that have effectively made that decision for them in years past. For the vast majority of these stores, you can start shopping their Black Friday sales online at midnight on Thanksgiving morning, anyway, and save all of your crowd-fighting energy for bigger fish.

We'll see more mid-tier stores retreat to Black Friday.

And we may see more mid-tier defections, like Office Depot, which followed Staples' lead after watching them closely last year. Likewise, we expect to see more sporting goods stores closing after REI's wildly popular anti-Black Friday campaign.

As heartening as that seems to the anti-Black Thursday crowd, these stores never have been the kind of stores that anyone was really excited to camp out for or hit up at 2am after an exhausting run through Walmart's Black Friday gauntlet. Light foot traffic in the wee hours ultimately doesn't justify the cost of keeping the lights on overnight.

The big boxes and major department stores will stick to Thanksgiving open times.

Macy's has made it clear that the Thanksgiving status quo isn't going anywhere when they announced plans to open at 5pm last Thanksgiving for a second year in a row. We predict that Macy's will not be retreating this year either. (Update: The Thursday 5pm start tie is now officially confirmed.) Macy's feels no pressure from the malls since their stores are typically anchors with their own entrances. It doesn't matter if shoppers are angry, just so long as they show up with cash in hand.

So in the end, we don't expect to see any earth-shattering announcements from the likes of Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kohl's. Forget caving to public pressure – they know that shoppers are at their beck and call. If you want a shot at a stellar 4K TV doorbuster, you'll suck it up and be there. Even if your heart is full of resentment.

Black Friday Store Hours Predictions for 2018

There are our predictions for the Black Friday store hours at some of the most popular merchants.

  • Best Buy - Thursday at 5pm (Confirmed via ad release)
  • GameStop - Thursday at 4pm
  • Home Depot - Friday at 6am (Confirmed by website)
  • JCPenney - Thursday at 2pm (Confirmed via ad release)
  • Kohl's - Thursday at 5pm (Confirmed via ad release)
  • Macy's - Thursday at 5pm (Confirmed on 10/11/18)
  • Sam's Club - Friday at 7am
  • Staples - Friday at 6am
  • Target - Thursday at 6pm (Confirmed 5pm via ad release)
  • Walmart - Thursday at 6pm (Confirmed via ad release)

Not having it? We're also keeping a list of stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Cover photo: Courtesy of Target