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--not Thanksgiving itself, but the day after, aka "Black Friday." 

An astounding number of other Americans have the same goal. During the upcoming 2017 Black Friday weekend (Thursday to Sunday), 164 million Americans will go shopping either in-store or online, according to the National Retail Federation. Yet 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.

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? (If you prefer the convenience of shopping from your couch, see 4 Ways To Shop Safely Online.) Here are five stores famous for having the best deals on this epic shopping day:

1. Macy's

Macy's is nearly synonymous with Thanksgiving, thanks to their Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, along with their legendary doorbusters. Macy's recently released their 40 page black Friday circular, previewing $29.99 sheet sets, 75% off sport coats, and $14.99 pajama sets. With 870 stores across 45 states, this retailing 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. The brand will kick off its Black Friday extravaganza with doorbusters at 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day, closing at 2 a.m. and re-opening on black Friday itself at 6 a.m. 

2. JCPenney

As you devise your shopping strategy, JCPenney 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 during Thanksgiving weekend. JC Penney placed third in WalletHub’s Black Friday savings list in 2016, with an average discount of 62.8%. Doors are opening at 2 p.m. on Thursday, and will stay open all day on Friday. 

3. Sears

In its 43 page 2017 Black Friday ad circular, Sears featured slashed prices on appliances, clothing, TVs, jewelry and more. Some of the most jaw-dropping discounts included up to 50% off on top brand appliances, up to 75% off on fine jewelry and $1,100 off a Samsung 65-inch LED Curved Smart 4K SUHD TV. According to WalletHub's 2016 list, Sears offered an overall average discount of 43.9% in 2016, up from 41.7% in 2015. 

The biggest winners will likely be for Sears Shop Your Way rewards members; they earned 10% back in points on the first $500 of each qualifying purchase with a Sears card. Sears will kick off its Black Friday sale at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day, closing at midnight and then reopening at 5 am on Black Friday. Sears, who has faced financial struggles recently, is putting it all on the line this year, offering up to 50% off of everything in the store.

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 average Black Friday discount of 28.6% in 2016. This one-stop-shopping destination ramps up holiday savings well before Thanksgiving. To sweeten the deal, Target also offers a price match policy throughout the holidays both in stores and online. Target's Black Friday extravaganza will start at 6pm on Thanksgiving, with stores closing that midnight and then reopening on Friday at 5 a.m.

5. Kohl's

Although sometimes overlooked, this specialty department store offers significant deals during Thanksgiving weekend. In 2016, Kohl’s shoppers enjoyed an average Black Friday discount of 58.1% on everything from watches and kitchenware to game consoles and toys. The retailer offers  discounts on jewelry, in addition to apparel and accessories. Kohl's will open up at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, close at midnight, and then reopen at noon on Friday. 

The Bottom Line

In the days directly before and after this year's Thanksgiving holiday, hundreds of retailers will 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.  

 

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