Best Buy Joins Others in Black Friday Midnight Opening

The Richfield electronics retailer announced that it'll open at midnight on Black Friday-like Target and many other retailers-but CEO Brian Dunn said he was not happy about the race to unlock doors early because it impacts employees' Thanksgiving plans.

Not to be outdone by competitors, Best Buy Company announced Friday that it too will open its stores at midnight on the day after Thanksgiving.

The Richfield-based electronics retailer joined a band of stores that plan to open at the final stroke of the holiday, including Target, Macy's, Kohl's and at least 70 stores at the Mall of America. Minneapolis-based Target Corporation and the Bloomington megamall made their announcements in late October.

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, however, said at a Business for Social Responsibility conference that the company jumped on the midnight bandwagon reluctantly because it will change Thanksgiving plans for its employees, according to the Pioneer Press.

“I feel terrible,” Dunn reportedly said at the conference. “We were going to be open at a much more civilized hour, like 3 or 4 (a.m.).”

Last year, Richfield-based Best Buy opened its stores at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. But Dunn reportedly said after the company's competitors announced this year that they were opening at midnight, Best Buy decided to follow suit.

In addition to opening its stores earlier, the electronics retailer said it will host daily giveaways for its Facebook fans from November 20 through November 28. During the period, fans will have the chance to win one of 10 e-gift cards daily from a pool of $25,000 worth of gift cards.

Best Buy also announced free shipping on all purchases from now until December 27, and price matching on all products advertised for a lower price elsewhere between November 13 and December 24.

“At Best Buy, we're focused on creating an unparalleled shopping experience for our customers,” Barry Judge, the company's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “Black Friday is just the beginning. This commitment will come to life throughout the holiday season in a variety of offers and initiatives that give customers great values and the most convenient ways to shop for everyone on their list.”

Opening at midnight isn't a concept that's new this year; Wal-Mart and some other major retailers opened their doors at midnight last year.

The Pioneer Press reported that the era when stores will open on the actual day of Thanksgiving is creeping closer, mainly because of competition from online sites.

Sears and Kmart were open on Thanksgiving day last year, and this year, Target plans to open 29 of its stores in the Denver-area on the holiday, according to the St. Paul newspaper. Target told the Pioneer Press that it will “evaluate the Denver test before making decisions about whether to expand Thanksgiving hours to other markets in the future.”

Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $49.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended in February 2010. The company reported $50.3 billion in revenue for its most recently completed fiscal year and employs 180,000 people worldwide.