It used to be that stores would kick off Black Friday with a 7 a.m. start. Then they moved it up to 6 a.m. Now here we are in 2010 and Black Friday is becoming Black Thursday. To get a jump on the competition, some stores are opening up Thanksgiving Day, although most are holding off on the doorbuster deals until early Friday morning.

That being said, knowing when stores like Walmart and Best Buy open up on Black Friday is key to getting the deals, so here’s the schedule for the big chain stores. Local hours may vary.

  • Sears opens at 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving
  • Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. opens at 10 p.m. on Thursday
  • Wal-Mart opens at Midnight on Friday (See below: some stores open all day Thursday)
  • Target Corp. 4 a.m. on Friday
  • J.C. Penney 4 a.m. on Friday
  • Best Buy: 5 a.m. on Friday

As in years past, retailers are offering doorbusters to get people, well, in the door. J.C. Penney will offer its most deals ever with more than 300 doorbusters, including diamond-accented earrings slashed 80 percent to $10 and lambskin leather coats cut 73 percent to $80. Besides $5 Barbies, Walmart is offering Nintendo Co.’s handheld DS Lite for 30 percent off at $89. Best Buy, has a 55-inch flat-screen television from Samsung for $1,500, a 40 percent savings.

Walmart hopes to get people in the store earlier with snacks and entertainment at a Friday Midnight Open House. The vast majority of Walmart stores will be open 24 hours on Thanksgiving Day with in-store specials kicking off at midnight and 5:00 a.m. on Friday, November 26.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year and Walmart will sell enough cameras on Friday alone to stack taller than 320 Empire State buildings.

At the same time, stores are under increased scrutiny after stampedes and even deaths in previous years, so the staggered openings may contribute to a bit safer scene than the one in the clip below. Two years ago on Black Friday, Jdimytai Damour was trampled by an excited mob trying to get to Walmart doorbuster deals. Last year, Walmart took special precautions. This year, OSHA is making sure no one forgets the incident, sending a sharply worded letter to merchants such as Target, Macy’s, Wal-Mart and JC Penney, among others, saying retailers should take precautions to prevent workers from getting injured on the day after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

“I am writing this letter to emphasize how critical it is to consider the safety of employees and customers during the upcoming holiday retail season,” said the letter from David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.

The letter links to a series of steps the retailers should take including planning, pre-event setup, what to do during the sales event and how to handle an emergency.

A 2009 Black Friday Stampede


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