BY O.J. EARLY
JoAnne Smith expects to be in the middle of Christmas shopping mayhem this year. But it won't be on "Black Friday" -- the day after Thanksgiving, which over the years has come to be seen as the biggest and most important shopping day of the year.
Smith, who says she likes to shop, will be on the lookout for clothes and cooking items. But she plans to take advantage of decisions by some stores to jump the gun on the traditional Black Friday and offer holiday deals on Thanksgiving itself.
Checks with a number of local stores or their websites this week showed that most local retailers will be sticking with tradition, taking Thanksgiving off, and putting the focus on Black Friday.
But several large local stores are among the many across the nation that will be opening their doors on Thanksgiving instead.
STRONG SPENDING FORECAST
Even if more shoppers are in stores on Thanksgiving and somewhat fewer than usual are there the next day, revenue for the 2013 Christmas shopping kickoff weekend is expected to be as strong as usual -- or even better than usual.
According to Nielsen's annual Holiday Spending Forecasts, shopping revenue should be as large as last year for the season's first weekend.
As to how shoppers will choose to go about their treasure-hunting, national surveys indicate that, as usual, a great many shoppers will throng the stores in person, while many others will shop by Internet -- or both.
And everyone is going to be looking for deals.
Consumer spending during this year's holiday shopping season is actually expected to be about two percent higher than than last year, Nielsen reports.
THE LOCAL PICTURE
Locally, checks by the newspaper showed that at least Kmart, Belk, JCPenney and Walmart will be among stores that will be kicking off their Christmas shopping season sometime on Thanksgiving.
Here are the planned Thanksgiving or Black Friday hours for a number of local retail outlets:
Kmart, in Greeneville Commons, plans to be open from 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day through 11 p.m. on Black Friday, a manager said.
The merchandising company is offering doorbusters from 7 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 6 a.m. until noon on Black Friday, according to Kmart's website.
Walmart, at 3755 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy. begins Black Friday deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, according to the retail giant's website.
Sales at Walmart are scheduled to begin in phases: Phase One -- 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Phase Two -- 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Phase Three -- 8 a.m. on Black Friday.
Belk, located in the Greeneville Commons, is opening at 8 p.m. on Thankgiving and closing at 10 p.m. on Black Friday.
JCPenney plans to open 10 hours earlier than it did last year, a manager said.
The store, located in the Greeneville Commons, will be open from 8 p.m. Thankgiving night until 9 p.m. on Black Friday.
Staples, at 1505 E. Andrew Johnson Highway, is also opening Thanksgiving night.
The store opens at 8 p.m.
Big Lots, at 1475 E. Andrew Hwy., is extending its normal hours on Black Friday. The store plans to be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving.
Tractor Supply is scheduled to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Black Friday.
The outdoors-and-agriculture-oriented store is located at 1665 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy.
Lowe's is opening at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
The store is located at 2375 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy.
The Shoe Department, 2345 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy., plans to be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday, an extension of the store's normal hours.
Badcock Home Furniture &more is offering 10 percent off on all store items on Black Friday, employee Earl Rozar said. The store will be open Black Friday from 9 a.m. until "whenever people stop coming," Rozar said. The furniture store is found at 1665 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy.
Roberts Furniture plans to be open regular hours on Black Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The furniture and appliance store is found at 221 W. Summer St., in Towne Square Shopping Center.
Shipley's Furniture & Bedding will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Black Friday, T.J. Shipley said.
Bob's Factory Outlet stores, at 515 Asheville Hwy. and 3225 E. Andrew Johnson Hwy., will be open on Black Friday, with hours from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Burke's Outlet, in Greeneville Commons, will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Black Friday.
Legacy Fine Jewelers, also in the Greeneville Commons, will be starting an hour early on Black Friday, and plans to be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Calls made this week to Anderson's Fine Jewelry and Greeneville Credit Jewelers were not returned.