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Macy's Inc. says that it will open most of its stores for the first time on Thanksgiving, breaking a long-standing tradition for the venerable retailer.

In a release issued late Monday advertising its "spectacular Black Friday deals," the Cincinnati-based chain said it would open its doors at 8 p.m. Nov. 28, "after families across the country have finished their holiday meals and celebrations."

The move comes as the chain faces growing pressure from other stores. Over the past few years, rivals have gotten a jump on the official start of the holiday shopping season by opening their doors increasingly earlier on Thanksgiving. Macy's says it made the move "in response to interest from customers who prefer to start their shopping early."

Macy's, which operates about 800 stores, says it began planning early to let its employees review available shifts throughout the holiday season and volunteer for their preferred shifts, including on Thanksgiving.