DAYTON, Ohio — Kmart said last week it will open its stores to holiday shoppers at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, more than 12 hours before many of its competitors.
The move intensifies the battle among retailers to capture holiday sales early this season and also signals that "Black Friday" is becoming a thing of the past.
The Friday after Thanksgiving traditionally is the biggest shopping day of the year and the point at which some retailers begin to turn a profit, or go "into the black." But a growing number of retailers plan to open on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.
Kmart last year opened its doors at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, but then closed at 4 p.m. before reopening at 8 p.m. This year Kmart stores will open before sunrise Nov. 28 and remain open for 41 hours straight to 11 p.m. Nov. 29.
Kmart said the stores will be staffed with seasonal employees and those who have volunteered to work.
Sears stores, which are owned by the same holding company as Kmart, will open at 8 p.m. Nov. 28 and close at 10 p.m. Nov. 29.
Macy's last month announced that it will break a 155-year-old tradition to open most of its stores on Thanksgiving for the first time in the Cincinnati-based chain's history. Macy's officials said the opening was in response to customer interest and consistent with other retailers.
An American Express survey found that 27 percent of consumers want to get their holiday shopping done by December, up from 24 percent last year. Consumers are starting sooner because this year's holiday shopping season is six days shorter than last year, officials said.
Last year, more than 88 million consumers shopped in stores and online on Black Friday, the most of any day during the holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. However, more than 35 million shoppers hit the stores last year on Thanksgiving Day.
Federation officials said a growing number of consumers want to "shop off" their Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, 28 percent of consumers who shopped the holiday weekend were at stores by midnight on Thanksgiving, up from 24 percent in 2011 and 10 percent in 2010.
"Cyber Monday," the traditional Monday after Thanksgiving big online shopping day, also could be falling out of fashion.
Wal-Mart shortly after midnight Friday launched an "early cyber event" featuring online deals on select items such as televisions and tablet computers "typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday," according to a media release.