Wal-Mart unveiled its first plans for the holiday shopping season, which includes moving their Black Friday shopping deals earlier into Thanksgiving Thursday then they've ever been before. Stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thursday this year, two hours earlier than last year, which firmly embeds the annual post-holiday shopping ritual into the actual holiday.
The store is actually planning three waves of super sales, with a round of deals at 8:00 p.m., a second electronics-only sale at 10:00 p.m., and then a final barrage of sales the next morning at 5:00 a.m. Despite the intrusion into the family holiday, the staggered starts may actually alleviate some of the crowds... or force some people spend the entire night at Wal-Mart to get all the deals they're looking for. Since Black Friday has become a brutal war of escalation among major retailers, you expect other stores to follow the lead of the industry giant. Many have already announced some of their own plans, but might possibly move sales to 8:00 p.m. or earlier to combat Wal-Mart's aggressive move.
The plan might also be a pre-emptive action against Wal-Mart's workers, who have been quietly organizing walk-outs in some stores over the past few months and may even attempt a strike on Black Friday. Wal-Mart employees are not unionized, but have reportedly been trying to organize strategic labor actions via social media. The threat of even a partial slowdown on the biggest shopping day of the year, could be enough frighten company executives into some sort of action.
In addition to the early sales, Thanksgiving falls on November 22, the earliest date possible on the calendar. That means there will be a full 32 shopping days (not counting Thanksgiving night) between then and Christmas.