Target Black Friday 2011 Ads, Deals and Midnight Closing Hours

As the run-up to holiday shopping intensifies, Target Corp. said Friday that its stores will open at midnight on Thanksgiving Day for the first time.

That’s four hours earlier than last year.

The stores will stay open for 23 hours and close at 11 p.m. Friday, November 25. Target spokeswoman Susan Kahn said the change was a response to customers’ demands.

Retailers have expanded their Black Friday hours each year recently.

The season’s kickoff overtook Thanksgiving Day last year, when most Sears Holdings Corp. opened most Sears and Kmart stores Thanksgiving morning for the first time. Toys R Us stores opened at 10 p.m. Some stores in Gap Inc.’s Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic chains also opened Thanksgiving Day last year; the company began operating stores on Thanksgiving in 2009.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., whose supercenters already operate around the clock, opened most of its other stores by midnight Thanksgiving evening last year.

Target, which operates more than 1,700 stores, is based in Minneapolis.

For those shoppers already wary (or is it weary?) at the prospect of waiting in the bitter dark cold for Target to open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, take heart: Now you can wait outside Target in the bitter dark cold at least six hours earlier.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said Friday that it will open at midnight on Nov. 25, joining a rush of retailers hoping for a strong start to the holiday shopping season.

“The holidays bring hectic schedules and tight budgets, so extending store hours … makes Target a great choice for affordable one-stop holiday shopping,” Tina Schiel, Target’s executive vice president of stores, said.

The day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, is called Black Friday because retailers supposedly return to profitability — going into the black.