The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. While some folks crave turducken, dressing and pumpkin pie, you salivate over deliciously deep cuts on electronics, apparel, kitchenware, and toys. The threat of brawling throngs of shoppers and mile-long lines won’t deter you from your mission to score the best deals on this, the biggest shopping day of the year: "Black Friday." 

An astounding number of Americans have the same goal. During the 2018 Black Friday weekend (from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday), 164 million Americans planned to shop, either in stores or online, according to the National Retail Federation.

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 sweetest deals. If you're not sure where to point your shopping cart (actual or virtual, since these brick-and-mortar stores all have excellent online counterparts) this Black Friday, here are five stores famous for having the best deals on this epic shopping day. (If you prefer the convenience of shopping from your couch, read about ways to shop 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 2018 Black Friday circular had 950-thread-count sheet sets for $29.99, men's sport and suit coats for $99.99, and $14.99 pajama sets. With more than 860 stores across 46 states and Washington, D.C., this retail icon offers a wide assortment of clothing, shoes, accessories, kitchenware, home decor, cosmetics, and jewelry. Macy’s not only slashes its prices for Thanksgiving weekend, but the department store also offers major Black Friday coupons.

Macy's Black Friday extravaganza usually kicks off with doorbusters at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Stores generally close at 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning and reopen at 6:00 a.m. for Black Friday itself. 

2. J.C. Penney

As you devise your shopping strategy, J.C. Penney 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. In fact, J.C. Penney tied Kohl's for the top spot on WalletHub’s Best Stores for Black Friday in 2017, with an average discount of 66.3%. And 2018 looks to be another year of big savings, according to the retailer's 28-page circular. In addition to $25 comforter sets, 50% off select toys and deep discounts on clothing and appliances, if you get to a store early on Thursday, you could receive a coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase, $100 off $100 or $500 off $500.

Doors open at 2 p.m. on Thursday and stay open all day on Friday.

3. Sears

While Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 and has been closing stores, those that remain will still have Black Friday sales. According to WalletHub, Sears has offered increasing average savings in each of the past three Black Friday weekends leading up to 2018 – 41.7% in 2015, 43.9% in 2016, and 50.1% in 2017.

In its 2018 Black Friday ad circular, Sears featured slashed prices on appliances, clothing, workout equipment, jewelry and more. Some of the most jaw-dropping discounts included a Kenmore black stainless steel refrigerator for $889.99, a Craftsman 320-piece tool set for $149.99, puffer jackets for $19.99, and select small appliances for less than $5.  

The biggest winners will likely be members of the Sears Shop Your Way loyalty program. They can earn $50 in cashback points on in-store purchases of $50 or more Thursday to Sunday, and $250 in cashback points on online or in-store purchases.

Sears usually kicks off its Black Friday sale at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, closing at midnight and reopening at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday. 

4. 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 36.2% in 2017. Target's 2018 Black Friday circular advertised a Samsung 65" Smart Curved UHD TV for $799.99, 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 usually 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.

5. Kohl's

Although sometimes overlooked, this specialty department store offers significant deals during Thanksgiving weekend. In 2017, Kohl’s shoppers enjoyed an average Black Friday discount of 66.3%. The retailer advertised big discounts on everything from jewelry, apparel, and kitchenware to game consoles and toys in its 2018 Black Friday circular. Plus, the circular contained a coupon for 15% off your entire in-store or online purchase, with the exception of some of the higher-end brands. 

Kohl's usually 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 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 five retailers.