J.C. Penney is opening its doors on Thanksgiving evening to kick off the holiday shopping season, as the beleaguered retailer hopes to get back in the game for the crucial selling period.
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 next day.
The Thanksgiving evening opening is much earlier than last year, when Penney didn’t open until 6 a.m. Friday.
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.
Tony Bartlett, Penney’s executive vice president of stores, promised that Penney’s deals will be at least as good as two years ago and will be much better than last year.
Penney is 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.
Last year, Target Corp. opened its doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, three hours earlier than the previous year.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, began the early-bird specials at 8 p.m. on the holiday, two hours earlier than in 2011.