An early Black Friday

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The line waiting to get into Target stretched deep into the parking lot as more people arrived to take advantage of Black Friday deals last November. -- Herald file photo

The holiday shopping season will kick off even sooner this year, as stores open their doors early

Many local retailers are opting to open their doors early this Black Friday — some so early, they’ll be opening on Thanksgiving.

Walmart in Austin will be one of the first in town to kick off the shopping extravaganza with a portion of its Black Friday sales beginning at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving.

“Our customers told us they’d rather stay up late than get up early, so we’re going to hold three special events to let them shop when they want,” said Walmart spokesperson Sarah Spencer.

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Target, Shopko and Younkers will all open at midnight, and Walmart’s second round of sales, including electronics, will begin at midnight. Sterling Drug on Main will adhere to its regular business hours, opening at 8:30 a.m.

Local retail managers indicated they expect to have a good sales day, and they think shoppers are excited about the earlier start to the Black Friday sales this year.

“We are so excited about it,” Target manager Diane Eagen said. “I think it will be really convenient for guests who aren’t early risers. We think they’re going to be excited about it.”

Eagen said she’s hoping customers won’t need to stand in line for such long periods of time since the store is opening earlier than last year. In 2010, some area residents were in line for Target’s 4 a.m. opening by 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Randy Forster, Younkers manager, said the store opened at 3 a.m. last year, but employees are looking forward to the earlier start this year.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Forster said. “I think everybody’s going to stay up.”

Sterling Drug manager Jessica Jenkins said the store will offer a gift bag sale. Customers can fill a large gift bag with gifts and toys and receive 50 percent off the contents of the bag.

Jenkins is hopeful about Black Friday sales because Sterling has offered sales recently that drew crowds nearly the size of Black Friday throngs, she said.

Eagen didn’t divulge specifics about Target’s sales, but she said they expect technological gifts to be popular this year, along with toys like Legos and Rockin’ Elmo.

According to a Walmart news release, the store will be offering an Emerson 32” LCD TV for $188 and a 14 megapixel camera for $49, along with several other electronics sale items beginning at midnight.

Some of Younkers’ sales include a down alternative comforter for $19.97, which is about a $100 savings, and Emu Australian boots for $59.97, down from $99 originally, according to Forster.

“I’m totally excited,” Forster said. “We will have lots of things for people to shop.”