Stores open earlier than ever on Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Some stores have moved up their opening times: Toys R'Us will open at 9 p.m. Thursday and Walmart opens at 10 p.m. The majority of stores -- including electronics big box stores Best Buy and HH Gregg; clothing stores like GAP and Old Navy; and department stores like Macy's, Kohl's, Carson Pirie Scott and Target -- will open at midnight. The Premium Outlet Mall in Aurora will also open at midnight.

ABC7 found one woman already waiting for the deals at Best Buy at North and Clybourn while another slightly larger crowd was at the Best Buy at Clinton and Roosevelt.

Johnny Pitts is just one of about 30 people who by noon Thursday was already lined up outside the Best Buy in North Riverside. The line started around 9 p.m. Wednesday. All these people tell ABC7 they are happy to forgo their Thanksgiving dinners at home in search of the ultimate bargain. Pitts had it both ways.

"I came prepared. I have my thanksgiving plate right here. I got my dressing. I got my turkey, I got my macaroni and cheese, greens and yams. Q: you have your book. A: I got my book. I'm ready. I want me a flat screen."

Hoping to lure in as many shoppers as possible, retailers this year are opening earlier than ever. Best Buy will open at midnight. So will Target.Toys R' Us isn't even waiting for Friday. They planned to open Thursday night at 9.

"A lot of people say this is cheapening the holiday, but people are going to construct this as a new tradition," said Steve Bernas president and CEO of Chicago's Better Business Bureau. "This is not going away. I assure you. Next year it may be even earlier, because more and more people love to do this. They look forward to it. A lot of people don't want to get up early."

Bernas said that according to a new internal poll, people will spend less money this year than last. Not a good sign for retailers, but maybe good news for those searching for good prices.

"Last year the average was about $740 per person," Bernas said."That's going down to $705. it's a minimal drop, but a lot of people are out of work this year as well...More people are being saavy this year. They are doing their due diligence, their homework, finding the best deal."

And that is why, those spending their Thanskgiving out in the cold said they are doing what they're doing.

"It's a good deal," said Felix Peres. "You have to make some sacrifices, so hopefully they understand."

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