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Published November 23, 2011, 09:39 AM

Forget Black Friday, Some Stores Opening as Early as 4 p.m. Thursday

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The busiest shopping day of the year is only days away. Many stores are opening earlier and earlier, and the inevitable has finally happened: Black Thursday.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The busiest shopping day of the year is only days away.

Many stores are opening earlier and earlier, and the inevitable has finally happened: Black Thursday.

This year at Target, among other stores, Black Thursday is the new Black Friday.

2011 marks the first year stores will open Thanksgiving Day.

Macy's, Target, Kohls, Old Navy and Best Buy all plan to open their doors at midnight.

Not to be outdone, Walmart will open at 10 p.m., Toys-R-Us at 9 p.m., and Michael's at 4 p.m.

Businesses say they expect a bigger turnout with these earlier opening times.

"We're definitely preparing for the bulk of our guests to come at midnight versus later in the day, so that's kind of what we're staffing up for," Target executive team leader Sarah Morken said.

The reason for the early openings? Competition.

"You know, we're trying to stay competitive and wanting to give our guests more opportunity to come out and get all those great deals for the holidays," Morken said.

Shoppers in Grand Forks say they're excited about the biggest shopping day of the year starting earlier than ever.

"I think it's going to be a lot better this year than it was last year with the doors opening at midnight. I think everyone's not going to feel as rushed," shopper Janelle Magalong said.

"It'll be much easier that they're opening at midnight compared to 4 a.m. because then, after Thanksgiving, we can just go wait in line for Target to open instead of waking up at 2 in the morning," shopper Anna Schoenecker said.

While the change might be good for shoppers, employees tend to have different sentiments.

"I might have to sleep a little on Thanksgiving, which is kind of unfortunate, so I can stay up all night," Target employee Andrew Nord said.

"The fact that people even have to come in at all is ridiculous," Target employee Dalton Ellingson said.

Another Target employee created a "Save Thanksgiving" petition asking the retailer to drop its plan to open at midnight.

The petition received nearly $200,000 signatures.

If you're going to be out, create a plan, know what you're shopping for, compare prices online and be aware of restrictions like early bird specials.

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