WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- An on-line petition begging Target to stay closed Thanksgiving instead of opening at 9 p.m. has more than 200,000 signatures but local retail experts say don't expect things to change.
"The company would not open if it were not profitable,” said Dr. Sheri Bridges of Wake Forest University's Center for Retail Innovation. “They want to get their hand in your purse or your pocket first because when people get closer and closer to Christmas they tighten those purse strings."
While it's mostly store employees complaining on-line, a Target spokesperson tells FOX8 when surveyed most Target team members were excited to open earlier.
The store claims less than one-third of its employees are actually working and in most cases Target claims more people wanted to work than the stores needed.
Target says a survey of customers showed many shoppers want the stores and the deals to start earlier than in years past.
Walmart says it will also start promotions earlier this year because that is what customers have indicated they want.
“Thursday is pushing it I enjoy going in the mornings and don't mind camping out if I need to,” said Winston-Salem shopper Kendra Bruton.
Another shopper, Jay Polzien says, "personally I don't like it. I think it takes away from some family time for people that have absolutely no choice but to work if they are scheduled to work."
And Winston-Salem shopper Johnny Davis says, "I'd rather see the shopping and all the rest wait till after thanksgiving."
Dr. Bridges says those are expected opinions in the South where many see the day as a day of religious thanks, but in other parts of the country people see benefit in getting to shop earlier on their day off.
Bridges also says the bottom line is the bottom line, "the stores want to make money they have to make money, and that may mean opening earlier."