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Stores Across New Jersey To Open Midnight Black Friday [AUDIO]

Ocean County Mall
Flickr User LancerE

New Jerseyans looking to get a jump on their holiday shopping will be able to finish their Thanksgiving dinner and head out to the stores.

Many retailers are opening their doors at midnight on Black Friday rather than waiting until the early dawn hours. “We’re entering the most critical part of the year for retailers,” said John Holub, President of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. “Anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of their retail sales occur during the holiday season.”

Macy’s, which traditionally opens at 4 a.m. on Black Friday will open four hours earlier and will stay open for 23 hours straight, closing at 11 p.m. on Friday, November 25. Target also will be opening its doors at midnight for the first time ever and will be offering deals starting at that time. Target also will add crowd-management workers and store maps to shoppers so they know where they want to go.

So, does opening four hours early really make a difference? “It definitely could. It sets you apart from your competitors,” said Holub. “I think you’re going to see promotions early this year and a lot more promotions at that. You have to keep in mind, we are still trying to come back from the worst economic downturn in 70 years.”

Retailers have expanded their Black Friday hours each year and they’re also trying to outdo each other by publicizing some of the deals weeks in advance. They also are responding to shoppers who map out bargain-hunting strategies weeks in advance. Black Friday circulars are already starting to be leaked to deal sites like Blackfriday.com and Blackfriday2011.com. It used to be typical for stores to keep their discounts and hours secret until a few days before the Thanksgiving weekend.

“I don’t know if that’s in part due to the economy, but it has been a trend we’ve seen over the past few years,” said Holub. “You can defintely expect more retailers to announce their plans over the coming weeks.”

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