Black Friday opening times are moving inexorably into Thanksgiving Day. For example, Target, 4500 E. Main St., will open at 9 p.m. Thursday.
Target opened at midnight for last year's Black Friday. In 2010, Target opened at 4 a.m. Friday, said Kenneth Nutt, store manager at Target.
Walmart is launching its specials in three waves, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday, and at 5 a.m. Friday. Walmart stores remain open 24 hours a day.
Best Buy, 3520 E. Main St., will open at midnight Friday.
Retailers are moving their door-buster specials into Thanksgiving in response to consumer demand, Nutt said.
"It just keeps moving with the competition and what the demand is for the guests," he said.
Studies show shoppers spend the most at their first stop on Black Friday, Nutt said. That gives retailers a strong incentive to lure in shoppers earlier and earlier.
"They're going to spend most of their Black Friday dollars at the first retailer they go to," he said.
Black Friday has become a major event in Farmington. Last year, lines stretched across parking lots to get into some big-box retailers.
"It's just a tradition now," said Thomas Herndon, general manager at Best Buy.
Consumers prefer to go shopping after Thanksgiving dinner rather than going to bed, he said. "It makes it a little bit easier rather than having to wake up early."
In a prepared statement, Walmart said customers want to shop for deals on Thanksgiving night.
"This year we are striking a balance between being competitive and meeting customer demand," the company said. "Last year, Black Friday weekend's highest customer traffic was during the 10 p.m. Thanksgiving hour. In talking to our customers, we know that the circulars come out after the leftovers are put away, and millions of customers are looking to kick start their shopping, once again, on Thanksgiving night."
Electronics once again lead the "door buster" specials. Retailers are relying on steep discounts on TVs, video game consoles and tablet computers to attract customers.
Large retailers typically add staff for the holiday shopping season. Target has added 30 to 40 part-time, temporary employees.
As the largest city in the Four Corners area, Farmington attracts shoppers from an unusually large radius, including surrounding American Indian reservations and across the state border in Colorado. The Census Bureau reports retail sales in Farmington in 2007 were $32,297 per capita, more than double the national average.
The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales to rise 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this year, a bigger increase than usual over the last 10 years, the Associated Press reported. Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $749.51 in November and December, with many shelling out much more.