The countdown to Thanksgiving begins right after Halloween. While some folks crave turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie, others salivate thinking about shopping after the big feast. The biggest shopping day of the year, known as "Black Friday," is a time when retailers offer steep price cuts on electronics, apparel, kitchenware, and toys. And even the threat of brawling crowds of shoppers and mile-long lines won’t deter many Americans from their mission to score the best deals.

During the 2018 Black Friday weekend (from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday), approximately 164 million Americans shopped either in stores or online, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The NRF reported in early October 2019 that it expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase "between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion."

Four Places to Shop and Save on Black Friday

As you’re inundated with an avalanche of Black Friday commercials, catalogs, and coupons, it can be tough to determine which stores will have the competitive offers.

Shoppers can take advantage of both brick-and-mortar shops and their online counterparts, and below are four stores known for offering significant deals on Black Friday.(If you prefer the convenience of shopping from your couch, read about ways to buy safely online.)

1. Macy's

Macy's is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving, thanks to its Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, along with its legendary doorbusters. Macy's 40-page 2019 Black Friday circular had 1200-thread-count sheet sets for $29.99, designer separates for $199.99, and $19.99 pajama sets. 

With more than 850 stores across over 40 states and Washington, D.C., this retail icon offers a wide assortment of clothing, shoes, accessories, kitchenware, home decor, cosmetics, and jewelry. Macy’s routinely slashes its prices for Thanksgiving weekend, and the department store also offers significant Black Friday coupons.

Key Takeaways

  • Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving. In 2019, it falls on November 29.
  • The crowds and long lines at many major retailers are the downsides to shopping during Black Friday.
  • Black Friday deals often include deep discounts on electronics.
  • Often stores will offer "Black Friday" savings before the actual day.

Macy's Black Friday begins with doorbusters at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Stores close at 2:00 a.m. on Friday and reopen at 6:00 a.m. for Black Friday itself. 

2. J.C. Penney Corp., Inc.

As you devise your shopping strategy, JCPenney (the branded store name) may not be the first store on your itinerary⁠—but maybe it should be. From clothing and jewelry to home furnishings and cookware, this national retailer serves up some of the best deals and steals on Thanksgiving.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, during the holiday shopping season, consumers plan on spending an average of $1,047.83.

JCPenney tied Kohl's for the top spot on WalletHub’s Best Stores for Black Friday in 2018, with an average discount of 65.1%. And 2019 looks to be another year of significant savings. JCPenny has released a 72-page look book online advertising big savings across all retail categories from toys to electronics.

In 2019, the store is offering $20 to $30 comforter sets, 50% off Disney toys, and deep discounts on clothing and appliances. JCPenny also offers exclusive coupons for early shoppers on Thursday.

Early-bird shoppers (those in line before 2 pm) in 2019 are offered special savings coupons: a $10 off a $10 purchase, $100 off $100, or $500 off $500. JCPenny doors open at 2 p.m. on Thursday and stay open all day on Friday.

3. Target

Whether you’re looking for deals on toys, clothing, electronics, furniture, entertainment, or office supplies, you can’t go wrong with Target. WalletHub reported that Target offered an average Black Friday discount of 34.8% in 2018.

Target's 2019 Black Friday circular advertised a Samsung 50" Smart UHD TV for $279.00, 50% off many toys and games, and $10 sweaters. 

This one-stop-shopping destination ramps up holiday savings well before Thanksgiving. To sweeten the deal, Target also offers a price match policy in stores and online. Target's Black Friday extravaganza starts at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with stores closing at 1:00 a.m. on Friday and reopening at 7:00 a.m.

4. Kohl's

Although sometimes overlooked, this specialty department store offers significant deals during Thanksgiving weekend. In 2018, Kohl’s shoppers enjoyed an average Black Friday discount of 60.8%.

The retailer advertised deep discounts on everything from jewelry, apparel, and kitchenware to game consoles and toys in its 2019 Black Friday circular. Plus, the leaflet contained a coupon for 15% off your entire in-store or online purchase, except for some of the higher-end brands. 

Kohl's opens at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remains open until 1:00 p.m. on Black Friday. Online Black Friday doorbusters begin at 12:01 a.m. Central Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day.

The Bottom Line

In the days directly before and after the Thanksgiving holiday, hundreds of retailers advertise rock-bottom prices and out-of-this-world deals. If recent history is any indicator, however, you’ll probably get the biggest bang for your Black Friday buck at these popular four retailers.