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Why feast when you can shop?

/ Source: The Associated Press

A traditional day of feasting with family could turn into a day of early holiday shopping for some, as retailers plan to offer more options — both online and in stores — than ever this Thanksgiving.

For the first time, BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. and CompUSA Inc. will open their doors on Thanksgiving, while online retailer is offering special holiday discounts beginning on the big day.

In the past, grocery retailers and 24-hour convenience stores like 7-Eleven Inc. were the only shopping options on Thanksgiving. Holiday gift shoppers turned to the Web, or saved their breath for Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, which is considered the official kickoff to the shopping season.

Post-dinner entertainment
“Some retailers are trying to find a way to take advantage of the fact that once dinner is over, many families are looking for some kind of entertainment,” said Ellen Davis, spokeswoman at National Retail Federation, a trade group.

BJ’s will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., while electronics retailer CompUSA Inc. will be open from 9 p.m. to midnight, where state laws permit stores to be open on the holiday.

“People start kicking off their holiday shopping early,” said BJ’s spokeswoman Stephanie LaCroix, who expects good sales of consumer electronics such as LCD televisions, computers and iPods.

Almost 1,400 Kmart stores, owned by Sears Holdings Corp., will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., offering buy-one-get-one free deals on board games and a Polaroid digital camera for less than $100, among other deals, said spokeswoman Gail Lavielle.

Wal-Mart, whose more than 2,000 24-hour supercenters will be open on the holiday, said it plans to begin advertising eight “top secret” Black Friday deals on its Web site beginning on Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, 7-Eleven plans to offer gift cards for Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes, Circuit City Stores Inc., Blockbuster Inc., Borders Group Inc., DVDs, and toys, among other gift items.

As for online opportunities, Sears, Roebuck and Co. will again allow holiday shoppers to pay for Black Friday deals on their Web site on Thanksgiving, such as 20 percent off Kenmore appliances and 50 percent off certain Craftsman-branded tools. Customers can then pick up their purchases when stores open the following the day, or have them shipped, said Lavielle.

Online poll
Online retailer is also pushing for shoppers to get started a day early by holding an ongoing poll to select one steeply discounted gift item that will be offered in limited supplies beginning on Thanksgiving day, on top of other deals.

The proposed items include a Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 video game system for $100, which is currently the leading favorite of voters, or a Mongoose Domain Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike for $30.

“We’re always open on Thanksgiving,” noted spokesman Craig Berman.

“Online retailers are making Thanksgiving a huge priority, because they have no competition from stores,” said Davis. “I think we’re going to see that trend increasing.”