Target Offers Early Access to Black Friday Deals

Lifestyle and Budget Associated Press

Target wants to extend Black Friday well before Thanksgiving.

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The Minneapolis-based retailer is kicking off its holiday push with a one-day online sale Monday that will last from noon to midnight Eastern time with nine items that can be ordered online and picked up at stores.

Target Corp. is also giving early access to some of the deals reserved for the holiday kickoff by holding a pre-sale on a handful of Black Friday deals at its stores and online on Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving.

Starting Thanksgiving morning, online customers will have access to all discounts that will be available when stores open at 6 p.m. on the holiday, two hours earlier than last year.

It is the first time Target is offering early access to Black Friday deals, an effort to rebound from a series of problems and compete in an economy that's still difficult and reel in shoppers who want options besides rolling out of bed at 3 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving.

"Not everyone wants to wait until Black Friday to start shopping," Kathee Tesija, Target's chief merchandising and supply chain officer, told The Associated Press. "They like to spread their shopping over the holiday shopping season."

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Last year's holiday season started out fine for Target, but then a massive theft of customer information disclosed the week before Christmas caused shoppers to flee for months.

While shoppers have moved beyond the breach, Target's sales have remained sluggish. It is trying to win over customers with aggressive discounts while adding more exclusive trendy merchandise to grab its share of holiday dollars.

Late last month, Target eliminated shipping fees for online orders under $50 until Dec. 20. Tesija told The Associated Press that Target saw a 30 percent increase in online sales in the first 48 hours of free shipping compared with the prior two weeks.

As for the Nov. 10 sale, deals include Apple TV streaming video devices for $89, down from the regular price of $99, and Beats Studio Headphones at $249, down from $299.99. To take advantage of the discount, customers have four days to pick up the item from a store.

Tesija said Target tested a flash online sale in July for back-to-school items where shoppers picked up the items at the store and that sale fared well. Bringing customers into stores is good for retailers because shoppers will then pick up other items.

For the Nov. 26 sale, shoppers will be able to get a preview of the deals in Target's weekly ad on Sunday, Nov. 23.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, from 6 a.m. to noon, customers can purchase up to $300 in Target gift cards at 10 percent off, the first time it has offered a discount on gift cards.

Target officials declined to say how many deals will be offered for the Thanksgiving weekend but noted in some categories, shoppers will see one across-the-board discount. For example, Target is marking down all clothing by 40 percent.

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