Black Friday Changes Will Keep Consumers On Caffeine

Black Friday Changes – Black Friday is almost here, but there are some changes you need to know about if you’re a bargain shopper. Consider loading up on caffeine after pushing yourself away from the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.

With Black Friday morphing into a late-night affair this year, that extra boost of energy could come in handy.

A plethora of big-box retailers and shopping centers will start offering their “door-buster” specials at midnight Friday, instead of their usual practice of waiting until the wee hours of the morning.

In an intense competition for dollars from consumers worried about a rough national economy, many stores also will offer marathon hours throughout this weekend.

Here’s are six things to know about the official kickoff of the 2011 holiday shopping season.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS: Target, an anchor at Sunnybrook Plaza, and Kohl’s and Best Buy, two of the anchors at Lakeport Commons, are among the big-box stores planning midnight openings for the first time on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

For the first time in its 31-year history, Southern Hills Mall also will open all four of its entrances when the clock strikes midnight on Black Friday. Local managers for the Sioux City mall, owned by The Macerich Co., are bracing for a big late-night turnout, based on performances at its other shopping centers that switched to the earlier start times last year.

“There’s a group of people that it’s easier for them to stay up til midnight and do their shopping, rather than go to bed and try to wake up earlier to go out,” said Kris Walter-Wenell, senior marketing manager for Southern Hills Mall.

SOME HOLDOUTS: Nearly all the Southern Hills Mall tenants will open at midnight, including one of its anchors, Younkers. Three other anchors are sticking with more traditional early morning start times, with J.C. Penney opening at 3 a.m., Sears at 4 a.m. and Scheels at 6 a.m.

Sioux City-based Bomgaars is among some other retailers planning 6 a.m. openings. Kmart, which will be again be open on Thanksgiving Day this year, will start at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

STAGGERED DEALS: Walmart, which operates several supercenters in Siouxland, is holding three staggered door-buster sales – starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving for toys and apparel, followed by an electronics event at midnight Friday, and an 8 a.m. promotion focusing on family gifts.