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Black Friday begins now

News spread quickly last week that Target stores would open at midnight on Black Friday, and that was the idea. The company earned a tremendous amount of media exposure by announcing its earliest ever opening time and joined the ranks of other retailers eager to accommodate the desires of millions of Americans by opening as early as possible on Black Friday.

No retailer wants to miss out on sales this season because their stores weren’t open when customers, for whatever reason, stayed up all night to shop at a competitor featuring shop prices on a product assortment with a high degree of overlap. Target EVP stores, Tina Schiel, explained the move by noting, “The holidays bring hectic schedules and tight budgets, so extending store hours and offering lots of additional ways to save makes Target a great choice for affordable, one-stop holiday shopping.”

The additional ways to save she mentioned include opening at 7 a.m. on Christmas Eve and not closing until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., depending on the market, to accommodate procrastinators. Those who can’t wait to redeem gift cards or return merchandise on Dec. 26 will be able to do so beginning at 7 a.m.

While the Black Friday opening time and extended opening and closing times on other key days keep Target on equal footing with many of its competitors, the company is also making sure it doesn’t get outflanked on the value front by touting its price match program. These days every retailer seems to have a price match guarantee, and while the fine print varies somewhat the basic stipulation is the same in that the item has to be identical and advertised by a local competitor before the match guarantee applies.