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Target's Thanksgiving hours offer a Black Friday breather

Holiday hiring spree

Target is hitting the snooze button on through-the-night Thanksgiving shopping. 

Shoppers and employees will get a break under the new holiday hours. The company will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and then close at midnight local time. Its stores will then reopen at 6 a.m. local time on Friday until 10 p.m., 11 p.m. or midnight local time.

That's different from last year when it kept the stores open straight through the night.

Target (TGT) again will offer Black Friday deals on on the morning of Thanksgiving. In a lead-up to the holiday, it will dangle select deals starting Monday, as it has for the past four years.

Like other retailers, Target is trying to figure out what makes sense for its customers who are jumping back and forth between online and the stores. It learned that while shoppers like the opportunity to shop on Thanksgiving and Black Friday at its stores, the crowds thinned out in the wee hours of the morning. More retailers may be learning that lesson, given the costs of staffing stores when customers are few and far between. 

Closing the stores at midnight on Thanksgiving will give "our teams a chance to recharge and prepare our stores before we open on Friday to greet guests," said Janna Potts, Target executive vice president and chief stores officer, in a statement.

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Most Macy's stores will open at 5 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving and close at 2 a.m., similar to last year. It will reopen 6 a.m. local time on Black Friday.

But some stores are sticking with marathon shopping hours.

Toys R Us will open its doors at 5 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving and remain open for 30 straight hours of shopping.

Like many retailers, Target is also pushing more incentives for customers to come back to the store and trying to make it easier to get deals.

For the first time, when customers spend $50 on the day after Thanksgiving, they will receive a coupon for 20 percent off a future shopping trip. And nearly all of Target's Black Friday online deals will be eligible for pickup at the store, up significantly from last year.

Also new this year: discounts will be applied automatically at checkout, with no coupons or codes required. Target also wants to reward its most loyal guests. On the day before Thanksgiving, holders of its branded credit card will get access to more than 100 Black Friday deals, compared to a handful in past years.

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