Target, MOA to Open at Midnight on Black Friday

Target will keep its stores open 23 hours-until 11 p.m.-the day after Thanksgiving; a number of other retailers will also open earlier and stay open later in an attempt to attract more shoppers.

The biggest shopping day of the year is starting earlier this year.

In an attempt to lure the early birds and get a big slice of the holiday spending pie, Target Corporation and numerous Mall of America retailers are opening at midnight on Black Friday.

“The holidays bring hectic schedules and tight budgets, so extending store hours and offering lots of additional ways to save makes Target a great choice for affordable, one-stop holiday shopping,” Target Executive Vice President of Stores Tina Schiel said in a statement.

In addition to opening stores earlier than ever, Minneapolis-based Target also will keep stores open a record 23 hours-until 11 p.m.-the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Target, which opened stores at 4 a.m. on Black Friday 2010, made its announcement about hours on Friday.

That same day, Mall of America Public Relations Manager Bridget Jewell said that more than 70 of the mall's retailers have signed on to open their doors at midnight. She claims that the mega mall is the nation's first major mall to open at that time on the day after Thanksgiving. The mall will soon release details on Black Friday promotions and deals.

Although it still hasn't become the norm, opening at midnight isn't an entirely new concept. Wal-Mart and some other major retailers opened their doors at midnight last year.

This year, some additional retailers are jumping on the midnight bandwagon. Macy's said last week that its stores, like Target's, will be open from midnight to 11 p.m. on Black Friday. Kohl's will also open at midnight.

In order to prevent the Black Friday shopping frenzy from getting out of control, Target has reportedly unveiled a new crowd-control strategy. Company spokeswoman Laura Conlon told the Pioneer Press that in stores with large crowds, Target staff will allow approximately 30 guests in at a time; new groups will be able to enter every 15 to 20 seconds.

Target serves customers at 1,767 stores and on its Web site. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $67.4 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.

The Mall of America has about 520 stores, shops, and kiosks, and attracts 40 million visitors annually. A new group of stores will reportedly arrive soon, and the mall is expected to be fully leased this holiday season.