Early Black Friday start times get mixed reviews

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Independence Shopping Center is joining the likes of major retailers, such as Target, Best Buy and Walmart, which are starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day.

In past years, the mall has opened at midnight to kick off Black Friday, but this year people will be able to start shopping beginning at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The decision is being met with some resistance.

"I'm not really for it," Keri Borcher, shopper, said. "I think Thanksgiving is one of those things we already skip over too much, and by opening it up we kind of forget to be thankful on that day, so I don't think it's really necessary."

Heather Fischer, the marketing director at Independence Center, said the mall is opening four and a half hours earlier this year because of such high customer demand. While the mall opens at 7:30 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, participating stores won't open until 8 p.m.

"Most people are very excited about the opportunity," Fischer said. "I think everyone is ready to kind of get out and enjoy some time away from the family, and this is a great way for them to come out and get some great deals."

Shopper Elizabeth Smith agrees.

"I think it'd be awesome because a lot of people do like to shop on Thanksgiving," she said. "I think it will give them more time to start for the holiday. I think some people are upset maybe because they think you should be with your family, but there's a lot of family things you can do out here. You got your Applebees restaurant, you got your play center, and you got Santa."

The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend 3.9 percent more on holiday shopping this year compared to last. Borchers said she won't be adding to that statistic, at least not on Thanksgiving day, regardless of how early Independence Center is open.

"I will not be here," she said. "I will be with my family probably snuggled up on the couch watching movies getting ready for the Christmas holiday season."

Fischer said the mall is not requiring stores to open Thanksgiving day. That decision is based on each company's corporate policy.

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