Black Friday Sales Have Already Begun, With Walmart One-Upping the Competition

It's Almost Time for Black...Wednesday?
Crowds outside a store on Black Friday

For years, the unspoken rule was Black Friday sales would begin on, well, Friday. But big-box retailers began opening their doors earlier and earlier until virtually all businesses were lined up on the midnight starting blocks. Then Black Friday spilled over into Thanksgiving Day—with millions making a tradition out of braving the cold for doorbuster deals.

Sales will begin earlier than ever this year, with Walmart (the OG retailer responsible for turning Thanksgiving into a shopping day back in 2011) offering 18 Black Friday deals on their website today, Nov. 8, 15 days earlier than Black Friday, which falls on Nov. 23. Sale items include Apple iPads, video game consoles, treadmills and widescreen TVs.

The retail giant will then relaunch its online Black Friday sales at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 21. To continue its Black Friday extravaganza, Walmart will throw in-store parties—what they’re calling “Light Up Black Friday”—throughout its nationwide stores on Thanksgiving Day starting at 4 p.m. local time. While shoppers who’ve decided to skip a sit-down meal with their families to hang out at Walmart won’t be served generous helpings of turkey and mashed potatoes, they will get free coffee and cookies before official Black Friday sales begin at 6 p.m. local time.

When do Black Friday sales start at other stores?

But Walmart isn't the only store jumping the gun on Black Friday sales. Macy's will kick off its in-store sales even earlier, starting on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m. And JCPenney will launch its sales on Thanksgiving Day at 2 p.m.

Other retailers will follow close on the heels of JCPenney on Thanksgiving Day, with Target, Kohl's and Macy's beginning their Nov. 22 sales at 5 p.m.

In-storeOnlineShipping deals
WalmartNov. 22, 6 p.m.Nov. 21, 10 p.m. ESTFree two-day shipping on orders over $35
Macy'sNov. 21, 3 p.m.Nov. 21Free shipping on orders over $49
TargetNov. 22, 5 p.m.Nov. 21, 12 a.m. EST for REDcard holdersFree two-day shipping on online orders until Dec. 22
Kohl'sNov. 22, 5 p.m.Nov. 19, 12:01 a.m. ESTFree shipping on orders over $75
JCPenneyNov. 22, 2 p.m.Nov. 22Free shipping on orders over $99
AmazonN/ANov. 1Free standard shipping on all orders until late December

Not to be outdone by its brick-and-mortar competitors, Amazon began offering its Black Friday "Deal of the Day" sales on Nov. 1 and will continue to post deals through the end of Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). And in response to Target's announcement of free two-day shipping on all online orders, Amazon rolled out its own free standard shipping for all customers—not just Amazon Prime subscribers—up until it can no longer guarantee Christmas Day delivery.

What does it all mean? If you’re a Black Friday shopper, retailers are vying for your business—even if it means turning what was once a tradition of eating a family meal into a day of mad-dash shopping.

Daniel Caughill

Daniel is a Staff Writer at ValuePenguin, covering insurance, retirement and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote about compliance and best practices for K-12 school districts at Frontline Education.

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