Best Buy is among those retailers not waiting until Thanksgiving Day to begin its Black Friday sales.
The Richfield-based electronics chain released its Black Friday ad Wednesday morning and made many of the deals in it immediately available through Saturday. The promotional prices will then return online on Thanksgiving morning and in stores, which will open at 5 p.m. on the holiday.
Best Buy offered more than a dozen Black Friday deals early last year, but this year it has gone further by offering early access to hundreds of Black Friday promotions on everything from iPad minis to 4K TVs and Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones. The company said some of the items are limited in quantity and there will be no rain checks.
It’s not the only retailer getting a jump-start on holiday sales.
Minneapolis-based Target had a one-day sale Monday offering some of its Black Friday deals in advance. J.C. Penney said it will start its Black Friday sales online the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Amazon.com opened its Black Friday deals store on Nov. 1.
And while Walmart won’t make its Black Friday deals available until Thanksgiving Day — online first thing in the morning and at 6 p.m. in stores — it was offering other holiday promotions on select products Thursday through Sunday.
Retail analysts have called this phenomenon the graying of Black Friday, or Black November, with sales that typically were reserved for the day after Thanksgiving being interspersed throughout the month. The blurring comes as retailers have been angling to grab consumers’ attention earlier in the hopes of capturing more sales during a key time of the year for them.
An analysis by PwC found that while Black Friday is still expected to be the biggest shopping day of that holiday week, the number of people planning to shop that day this year has dropped 16 percent compared with last year and 24 percent since 2015.
“It continues to decrease in significance,” said Dawn Eber, a partner with PwC. “Not only is the specific day down, but we’re also seeing shoppers spread out their shopping throughout the whole holiday season in general.”
Some of that is because retailers are offering promotions not only on Thanksgiving Day or the day after, but throughout the whole month of November, she said.
But it’s not just about shopping earlier. About 15 percent of shoppers in the PwC survey said they will wait to finish some their shopping until after Christmas to hit up post-holiday sales.
As it has done the last few years, Best Buy will open its stores at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and close at 1 a.m. Friday. Stores will then reopen at 8 a.m.
This year, a number of other retailers, including Target, Macy’s and Sears, also will close stores overnight instead of staying open all night as they have done previously.
While in previous years Walmart has offered wristbands in stores to guarantee customers can get the most in-demand doorbuster deals, the retailer is doing away with that program this year as executives tout that they will have more availability of top items than other retailers so there’s not as much worry about running out.
“We feel really good about the depth of inventory that we have and our ability to serve our customers, so we’re not going to be running that program this year because we don’t think we need to,” Walmart Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies told reporters.
Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113