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Wal-Mart Moves Black Friday Sales to Thanksgiving Night

Carlo Allegri, Getty Images

At this rate, we might have to change the term “Black Friday” to “Black Thanksgiving.”

Wal-Mart has announced that they plan to kick off their Black Friday sales at 8 PM on Thanksgiving night. This is the earliest the chain has even opened up for Black Friday sales.

The holiday season is critical for Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the world’s largest retailer, and its Walmart U.S. division. More than a quarter of its annual sales come during the holiday season.

“We bought deep, very deep, and we bought deep on items that matter to our customers,” said Walmart U.S. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer Duncan Mac Naughton.

Retailers are coming up with fresh ways to entice shoppers this year, as holiday spending is only expected to rise 4.1 percent, according to the National Retail Federation, down from 5.6 percent growth in 2011.

Walmart kicked off layaway a month earlier than last year, in mid-September. Layaway allows shoppers to keep a product on hold at the store and pay for it over time. Chains such as Walmart and Target have already published toy catalogs.

While the holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, the push to sell Christmas presents and other items has been moving earlier and earlier in recent years.

Retailers say that shoppers want earlier deals.

Sears will also be open Thanksgiving Day starting at 8 PM, and closing at 10 PM. Best Buy, Macy’s and Kohl’s all plan to open at midnight on Black Friday like they did last year.

I’m always amazed at the insanity that is Black Friday, particularly since stores now are cutting into Thanksgiving itself. Is it really worth ditching your family, braving the cold and late hours, and fighting your way through all the other idiots out there just so you can save a few bucks on a game system? Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I thought Thanksgiving was about being thankful for what you have, not rushing out to get what you want.

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