The Plano, Texas-based chain will open most of its 1,100 stores at 8 p.m. on the holiday, the same as rival Macy’s, and will be open 25 hours straight, closing at 9 p.m. the following day. The Thanksgiving evening opening is much earlier than last year, when Penney didn’t open until 6 a.m. Friday. That made the retailer one of the laggards for the unofficial kickoff to the season.
Penney is also bringing back a tradition it ditched last year: It will give away nearly 2 million holiday snow globes starting at 4 a.m. on the Friday after the turkey feast.
“Obviously, we were one of the last to open (last year),” said Tony Bartlett, Penney’s executive vice president of stores. But he noted this year, “We’re all in.” He promised that Penney’s deals will be at least as good as two years ago and will be much better than last year, when Penney gave away buttons tied to a prize giveaway.
Penney is also hiring at least 35,000 seasonal workers for the holidays, nearly 50 percent more than a year ago.
Stores are ushering the holiday season earlier every year, creeping into Thanksgiving. Macy’s scheduled 8 p.m. opening on Thanksgiving compares with its midnight Friday opening in 2012.
Target, Wal-Mart and Gap have not yet announced their plans for the Thanksgiving weekend.