NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- More retailers are hoping consumers will start their holiday shopping in the wee hours this year with several stores announcing midnight openings on Black Friday. "It's a very slow growth environment and the battle for the dollars is becoming increasingly fierce," said Sterne Agee analyst Ken Stumphauzer. "The consumer needs a reason to shop, having become increasingly episodic. I think the retailers feel like this is likely to heighten the need to shop and probably spread out some traffic so the more casual shopper will be more apt to step in the store."
Every year it seems the rush to capture shoppers dollars has become more intense, with some retailers like Toys 'R' Us, Sears ( SHLD) and Kmart, opting to open Thanksgiving Day on 2010. The question is, do these early openings actually boost retail sales? >>>10 Black Friday Deal Predictions "The funny thing is, it probably doesn't actually really help," Srumphauzer said. "In my opinion, there are a number of shoppers who will shop on that day, and if anything, you are just stretching out the day and thereby heightening your store payroll. It's kind of like a prisoner's dilemma; everyone would benefit if they just ran normal hours, but they are too competitive to cooperate." Nonetheless, retailers are copying Wal-Mart ( WMT), which was one of the only retailers to open at midnight on Black Friday last year. Read on for a look at retailers that plan to perpetuate the Black Friday midnight madness this year.
Kohl's ( KSS) is opening its doors at midnight on Black Friday. "The state of the economy will definitely affect how consumers plan and shop this holiday," said CEO Kevin Mansell. "We understand they feel pressure to find the best gifts at an incredible value, and that's what we will deliver. From opening our stores at 12 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving -- our earliest opening ever -- to offering deeper savings opportunities throughout the holidays, we are making shopping easy and even more convenient this holiday season." The mid-priced department store plans to remain open for 24 hours the day after Thanksgiving. Online shoppers can also start making purchases with early bird specials on Thanksgiving Day.
Macy's ( M) will open four hours earlier on Black Friday. The department store said 810 of its locations will open at midnight the day after Thanksgiving. Twenty stores won't take part in the early opening in places where state or local laws prevent the midnight frenzy. "This year, in response to our customers' eagerness to shop early for great deals, Macy's stores across the country will open for the first time at midnight following Thanksgiving, giving customers the opportunity to get a head start on our extraordinary Black Friday deals," CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement. Macy's also provided a sneak peek into some of its Black Friday deals, including 50% off Sharper Image docking stations for Apple's iPhone and iPod and an exclusive Justin Bieber limited edition fragrance scent.
Target ( TGT) will open its doors for the first time at midnight on Black Friday. This is four hours earlier than last year. The discounter will remain open until 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25. "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," Tina Schiel, executive vice president, said in a statement. Target will also extend its hours on other key shopping days, open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. the day after Christmas. In an effort to compete with Wal-Mart, Target will also offer price-matching throughout the holiday season. This means shoppers can get a refund on the difference in price of a product if they find the same items advertised for a cheaper price. - Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.