Why some retailers are starting Black Friday on Thursday - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why some retailers are starting Black Friday on Thursday

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The holiday season has the ability to drive a lot of people a little crazy, but it's the day of deals-- Black Friday-- that has some people acting it.

"People tripping and rushing in to buy the last item, things like that," said Bill Toppings, the manager of Kmart in South Burlington.

Now, big chains like Kmart are reacting with new hours. One of the reasons Kmart is changing its hours is because of safety concerns. They want to minimize accidents in aisles and avoid incidents like one in California where a woman pepper-sprayed other video game shoppers at Wal-Mart.

National chains are spreading blowout deals between two days this year. Kmart will open its doors Thanksgiving Day at 6 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. It will reopen that night at 8 p.m., close at 3 a.m., and then reopen again at 5 a.m. Friday.

"There's been a push every year for retailers to open earlier and earlier and earlier," said Jamie Polli of the University Mall.

Polli says the mall will not open before midnight on Black Friday, with the exception of Sears, which will stay open for more than 24 hours, opening for the first time at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night.

Polli helped launch the mall's first midnight opening last year; he says midnight is the limit.

"We're going to cap it at midnight on Thanksgiving. We're never going to open the mall earlier as an entity. It's something we're not interested in doing," Polli said.

But he doesn't deny the power of the doorbuster. After last year's midnight opening they saw 24,000 plus people in the building that day. That's compared to roughly 13,000 after opening at 6 a.m. in 2010.

"This is the day when our business is going to go into the black from the red for this fiscal year and they depend on sales that day," Polli said.

The Vermont Retail Association anticipates more people will come to see what the advertised deals are and will use smartphones to compare the price to products in other stores. Many stores like Kmart do have a price match policy on their websites.

The retail association says the pressure on local stores comes from online shoppers more than Black Friday shoppers. They tell us many local stores benefit from window shoppers, an audience that might dwindle as more people shop online.

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