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Sweet early deals push Black Friday up in Utah (with video tips)
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For the second year in a row, one of the nation's biggest shopping sprees is starting on Thanksgiving, bringing Black Friday door busters to shoppers a day earlier at many big-box stores and malls in Utah and beyond.

Call it the Christmas creep, and although some consumers and retail employees are pushing back against the ever-earlier start, many bargain hunters say they are willing to cut into their holiday for the best deals.

In fact, scores of Americans this year have taken advantage of big discounts that were offered weeks before Black Friday. Nearly 53 percent of consumers started buying for the holidays in early November, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation.

And, according to U.S. News & World Report, the coupon site RetailMeNot.com found in a survey of 1,000 parents that four in 10 said they started their holiday shopping before November, and just 12 percent said they would wait until Black Friday to shop.

Officials at RetailMeNot.com attribute the shift to cost-conscious consumers parceling their expenses over several months so they can better plan their budgets. "Because of that, retailers are starting early with promotions to take advantage of that consumer who's already checking off items now," one told the magazine.

With that in mind, retailers are pushing out Black Friday deals and other specials as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and shoppers are scooping them up, even though a majority of consumers believe they may get better deals online or on different sale days during the holidays, according to a survey by WSL/Strategic Retail, which tracks shopper trends.

The survey, released Monday, found that shoppers consider Black Friday to be part of their holiday tradition, but that notoriety for best bargains could be diminishing given that 88 percent of consumers say they are aware they can check promotion prices online beforehand to see if it's worth making the trip.

Deals being offered include include a Lenovo 15-inch laptop at Best Buy for $187.99 (was $279.99), a Toshiba 14-inch touch laptop for $599.99 (was $749.99) and a Lenovo 23-inch All-In-One Computer for $599.99 (was $799.99).

Colleen Shepherd of Taylorsville remembers shopping for her children on Black Fridays, traditionally when stores opened at 6 a.m. or so.

In ensuing years when shopping for her grandchildren, she's had to leave home earlier to take advantage of the best deals as store openings have crept to 5 a.m. and to 4 a.m.

But for her to give up her Thanksgiving night, "it would have to be an incredibly good deal."

Retailers are counting on their bargains to sway Shepherd and others to keep the "black," as in profits, in Black Friday, so named back in the day because it marked a period when retailers earned more than half their revenue for the year. Although that's no longer the case, Black Friday spending is important to retailers big and small as they aim at a Black Friday demographic in which half the shoppers are younger than 35 and the other half are parents with children, according to WSL/Strategic Retail.

Jennifer Neujahr, 27, of Sandy fits the profile of the younger Black Friday shopper.

Although she lost out on snagging a gift card at South Towne Center last year, she's still planning to brave the cold on Friday at Cabela's Outfitters in Lehi, where she often shops.

The Lehi store will open at 5 a.m., four hours earlier than normal.

Among the giveaways are a Browning rifle, an electric smoker, two different brands of binoculars, 25 hoodies and gift cards up to $100 in value.

"It's fun to go with a couple of friends to see if we can get any of the big toys," Neujahr said.

"But I've learned from previous years to bring along some hand warmers. Just dress warm, and when the doors open, be prepared to push."

For hungry shoppers, Sonic Drive-Ins on Friday are offering breakfast burritos for half-price all day. Outlets will open at 6 a.m. or earlier.

Also on Friday, Sam's Club will offer its members free Starbucks coffee and pastries, starting at 7 a.m.

Before deciding on a store, get social. Retailers are offering coupons and other money-saving offers on Facebook. Also check each store's website for additional bargains and door busters.

And know that the Christmas creep won't be observed by everyone.

Most stores at City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City will open at 8 a.m. Friday and close at 10 p.m. The only exception will be Macy's, which will open at midnight Thursday.

Nordstrom stores also are staying traditional, sort of, with locations closed Thanksgiving Day and hours Friday set for 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., an hour earlier and later than normal. Christmas decorations will not be hung until after Thanksgiving.

Said company spokesman Colin Johnson: "We believe in celebrating one holiday at a time."

Apparently, some employers of other retailers wish that was the case at their stores, as do some consumers.

Annalisa Spencer of Salt Lake City is among the 1,500 Utahns who have signed a petition asking Target to close on Thanksgiving.

On Monday, more than 350,000 signatures were delivered to the company's corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, asking Target to reverse its decision to open at 9 p.m. on Thursday — three hours earlier than last Thanksgiving.

"Retailers are letting Black Friday run into Thanksgiving, overrunning the holiday," she said.

"It's causing people to worry about money, shopping and commercialism. Everyone should enjoy the holiday, including employees."

The petition is unlikely to move corporate executives hoping to maintain retail momentum not just for a day but through the rest of the week and beyond.

dawn@sltrib.com

Twitter@DawnHouseTrib —

Share Black Friday with The Trib

On Thanksgiving Day, The Tribune will report Black Friday shopping updates from stores and malls starting late Thursday at http://www.sltrib.com. Join in by sharing Tweets, as well as photos on Instagram using #BFUtah.

Black Friday shopping tips

Scout • Decide on purchases in advance because you can't get to all stores or get to all specials

Savings • Give preference to big-ticket items because you'll save more on those selections

Go as group • Send individuals to different stores to buy items for everyone else

Buy what you need • Many stores are strict on re-stocking fees, which may range from 5 percent to 15 percent

Park smartly • Chose nearby parking lots and walk to the store to avoid getting stuck in traffic

Dress warmly • Being cold or getting sick takes the joy out of bargain hunting

Online • Many Black Friday items are available online; be sure to check for free shipping

Source: TheBlackFriday

Store opening times

Toys R Us • 8 p.m. Thursday. The first 200 customers at each location will receive a free bag full of stocking stuffers up to $30 in value.

Walmart • 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Sears • 8 p.m. on Thursday. Friday door busters start at 4 a.m.

Kmart • Black Friday sales begin at 8 p.m. Thursday

Macy's • Midnight Thursday.

BestBuy • Midnight Thursday.

Disney Store • Midnight Thursday.

Kohl's • Midnight Thursday.

J.C. Penney • 6 a.m. on Friday. Customers will receive Christmas buttons, which can be entered that day for a chance to win one of millions of gifts.

Nordstrom • 9 a.m. Friday.

Mall opening times

The Gateway • 400 West, between 200 South and South Temple in Salt Lake City, some stores at midnight Thursday, Abercrombie & Fitch and Dick's Sporting Goods, with others at 5 .a,.m. Friday or later.

Fashion Place Mall • 6191 S. State St. in Murray, midnight Thursday for Macy's, and 5 a.m. or later on Friday for others.

Valley Fair Mall • 3601 S. 2700 West in West Valley City, select stores at midnight Thursday.

Layton Hills Mall • 1201 N. Hill Field Road in Layton, select stores at midnight Thursday, others at 4 a.m. Friday.

Station Park Shopping Center •At the intersection of I-15, Highway 89 and Legacy Parkway in Farmington, select stores at midnight Thursday, with others at 4 a.m. or later on Friday.

Tanger Outlets •6699 North Landmark Drive in Park City,10 p.m. Thursday.

University Mall • University Parkway and State Street in Orem, 6 a.m. Friday.

South Towne Center • 1200 Towne Centre Blvd. in Provo, select stores at midnight Thursday.

Red Cliffs Mall • St. George, Sears at 8 p.m. Thursday, with select stores at midnight Thursday

City Creek Center • Downtown Salt Lake City, 8 a.m. Friday (except for Macy's, midnight Thursday). Mobile Apps for Black Friday

TGI Black Friday (free, available for iOS, Android) • View Black Friday ads from all of the major retailers as soon as they are posted on their websites. Includes push notifications for whenever a new ad is posted. You can also create a personal shopping list and share it with others.

Black Friday by FatWallet.com (free, available for iOS) • Displays all Black Friday ads from major retailers. You can search and sort ads by store, category and price range. Share deals by email and text, and receive push notifications.

Black Friday App (free, available for iOS, Android) • Find the best Black Friday deals and save items to a shopping list. Compare Black Friday deals in-store with online prices. Find nearby locations of your favorite stores. Includes links to retailers' websites to shop directly online.

Black Friday (free, available for iOS, Android) • Browse all the latest Black Friday ads by store or category, and get news on the latest deals. Compare deals between stores on the same item. Advanced filtering options for searching the right product or deal.

Essential Black Friday websites

BFAds.net • The main website and companion to the mobile app updates shoppers on the latest ads, as well as news on when stores will open.

TheBlackFriday • Daily updates on all the Black Friday deals and news. It also includes picture scans of all of the Black Friday newspaper supplements that you can click on by store.

BlackFriday.com • Another comprehensive site that allows you to search deals by store and item. Also lists online coupons available with direct links to the products.

Blackfridaysites.com • A list of all the major Black Friday websites available on line. Updated for 2012.

Avoid holiday debt

Plan ahead • Feeling rushed can make you overspend and lead to poor choices. Make a list of only those you want to buy for so that you aren't making random purchases.

Make a budget • Stick to it by bringing a prepaid debit or gift cards to the store, or bringing just enough the cash to spend. Spending blindly is less likely without credit cards.

Shop at your best time • If you are a morning person, the that's your time. If you feel depleted, you are more likely to make impulse grabs and get sloppy.

Curb impulse buying • If being in a store leads you to make grab-and-go purchases, use online shopping or some other means to help manage temptations.

Gift options • If you have a large family, try drawing names for a gift exchange. Or perhaps pool your money to take a family trip or something else together.

Source: Oxygen Media —

Store opening times

Toys R Us • 8 p.m. Thursday. The first 200 customers at each location will receive a free bag full of stocking stuffers up to $30 in value.

Walmart • 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Sears • 8 p.m. on Thursday. Friday door busters start at 4 a.m.

Kmart • Black Friday sales begin at 8 p.m. Thursday

Macy's • Midnight Thursday.

BestBuy • Midnight Thursday.

Disney Store • Midnight Thursday.

Kohl's • Midnight Thursday.

J.C. Penney • 6 a.m. on Friday. Customers will receive Christmas buttons, which can be entered that day for a chance to win one of millions of gifts.

Nordstrom • 9 a.m. Friday.

Mall opening times

The Gateway •400 West, between 200 South and South Temple in Salt Lake City, some stores at midnight Thursday, Abercrombie & Fitch and Dick's Sporting Goods, with others at 5 .a,.m. Friday or later.

Fashion Place Mall • 6191 S. State St. in Murray, midnight Thursday for Macy's, and 5 a.m. or later on Friday for others.

Valley Fair Mall • 3601 S. 2700 West in West Valley City, select stores at midnight Thursday.

Layton Hills Mall • 1201 N. Hill Field Road in Layton, select stores at midnight Thursday, others at 4 a.m. Friday.

Station Park Shopping Center •At the intersection of I-15, Highway 89 and Legacy Parkway in Farmington, select stores at midnight Thursday, with others at 4 a.m. or later on Friday.

Tanger Outlets •6699 North Landmark Drive in Park City,10 p.m. Thursday.

University Mall • University Parkway and State Street in Orem, 6 a.m. Friday.

South Towne Center • 1200 Towne Centre Blvd. in Provo, select stores at midnight Thursday.

Red Cliffs Mall • St. George, Sears at 8 p.m. Thursday, with select stores at midnight Thursday

City Creek Center • Downtown Salt Lake City, 8 a.m. Friday (except for Macy's, midnight Thursday).

Shopping • Almost 53 percent of Americans take advantage of discounts in early November.
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