Call it Black Thursday.
The Christmas shopping season traditionally begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday. But this year retailers across the nation plan to kick things off even earlier, with many having special hours and special deals on Thanksgiving Day itself.
Black Friday is typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and the National Retail Federation reports some 140 million Americans plan to shop online or in stores during the four-day weekend starting Thursday, down from 147 million in 2012. But the federation is predicting holiday sales will be up 3.9 percent this year.
• Walnut Square Mall will open at 8 p.m. on Thursday, as will a number of mall stores including Belk, Sears, JC Penney, Zales, Rebel Soul and Trendy You. All mall stores will be open by midnight Thursday. Shoppers can check out WalnutSquareMall.com to find out more about hours and special deals.
• Walmart closes only on Christmas Day, so it will be open Thursday and Friday with numerous special deals both days.
• Kohl’s will open at 8 p.m. Thursday and remain open all day Friday. There will be discounts and special deals.
• Academy Sports and Outdoors will open at 5 a.m. on Friday, closing at 10 p.m.