DENVER (CBS4) - Black Friday is coming early this year -- it's called Gray Thursday. More and more retailers are opening on Thursday and opening earlier than ever.
Walmart, Best Buy and Kmart are opening at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Target, Sears, Kohl's, Macy's and JC Penney will open at 8 p.m. And certain Old Navy stores across the country will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
"There's a potential backlash on the part of many of the consumers that we're engaging into a very cherished holiday of Thanksgiving," said Cliff Young, a marketing professor at University of Colorado Denver.
Nordstrom Department Store is making a point of not opening on Thanksgiving, and has posted signs says that they won't decorate the store for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.
"I think it's ridiculous, but we're still going to do it," said Austen Carpenter, a long-time Black Friday super-shopper.
Carpenter and his friends have a long history of lining up for Black Friday sales. This year he's making plans to line up on Thursday.
"I'll probably be out there after lunch and then try to make it back for a later dinner with the family," Carpenter told CBS4.
Carpenter and shoppers like him can expect a good deal on Thursday, according to a survey done by the shopping blog, dealnews.com. Analysts there looked at sales offers from 2012 and 2011 in the months of October, November and December, and found the highest quality deals happen on Thanksgiving.
This year retailers are spacing out their deals as well. Walmart will be doing doorbuster deals throughout Thursday and Friday, and they'll guarantee stock on certain sale items for certain hours.
"If you are in line at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., there are more than 20 items over those two events that are guaranteed if you're in line between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. And that includes an iPad mini with a $100 Walmart gift card or even a $98 32-inch LCD television," said Danit Marquardt, a spokesperson for Walmart.
Shoppers can also expect more stores to price match Amazon.com and other online retailers. Shopping experts say Black Friday, even Gray Thursday is more about the experience and less about the deals.
"The majority, if not all of the Black Friday in-store deals are available online at the same price or sometimes even cheaper," said Mark LoCastro, the public relations manager for dealnews.com.
--Written for cbsdenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith
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