Target To Open Doors To Black Friday Shoppers At 6 P.M. On Thanksgiving

A Target department store is seen in Springfield, Virginia, October 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB        (Photo credit shou
A Target department store is seen in Springfield, Virginia, October 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Target is opening its doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, its earliest "Black Friday" opening ever, the company announced on Monday.

The big-box retailer joins several others, including Toys R Us, Kmart and J.C. Penney, in announcing earlier starts to Black Friday, the shopping bonanza that once traditionally fell on the day after Thanksgiving. As the number of retailers opening on Thanksgiving has grown in recent years, so too, have the complaints, with critics deriding stores opening on a national holiday and forcing some employees to take time away from family to work.

Retailers like Costco, Nordstrom and others have made a point of staying closed on the holiday.

Target aims to “fill as many positions as we can with volunteers” to work on Thanksgiving, according to Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Target. She added that many employees are excited to work the holiday because “it’s a fun night to be out in the stores,” and managers typically plan activities and order food for team members.

Target hourly employees who work on Thanksgiving get paid one and a half times their regular hourly rate. Employees working on certain shifts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday will get additional holiday pay, according to the company’s website.

Last year, Target opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The decision to open two hours earlier this year was the result of feedback from customers and employees, as well as consideration of what it will take to “stay competitive” this holiday season, Reck said. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is typically one of the most important times of the year for retailers.

Traditionally a favorite among middle-class shoppers looking for a good deal, Target has suffered lately, due partly to a massive credit-card hack last year and a general decline in traffic at big-box stores. The retailer has been closing stores in recent months.

Some of the company’s holiday offerings this year are a nod to the reality that more and more people are shopping online. Some discounts labeled "Black Friday doorbuster deals" will be available to online shoppers well before Thanksgiving Day, which is Nov. 27. For example, Cartwheel, Target’s savings app, is offering a 50 percent discount on a different toy every day between Nov. 23 and 29.

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