Black Friday has long been one of the busiest shopping day of the year, but it may have a new competitor -- Gray Thursday. MPB's Paul Boger reports stores have increasingly been opening on Thanksgiving to woo shoppers who can't wait for the sales.
In a race to get more customers, retailers around the country have begun a new tradition; starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving itself.
Brian Griffin manages an Old Navy Clothing Store in Ridgeland.
"Shoppers dictate what the retailers do." said Griffin. "Based on the trend over the previous year, the shoppers tell us that want to have more time to shop; more hours open. So, we accommodate the shoppers."
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 140 million Americans will go shopping this weekend. 33 million of which will occur on Thursday. Despite the extra shopping day experts believe the number of actual shoppers will still be down from last year.
Darrin Webb is the State Economist. He believes consumers are still worried about the economy.
"I'm not so sure that Black Friday itself is as important as it use to be, because I think people has sort of spread their shopping out." said Webb. "They're much more cautious in their spending. They're using their credit cards as often. Growth tends to be a little bit less."
Gray Thursday has also sparked debate on whether it's fair to make employees work on major holidays that they would traditionally have off. Old Navy Manager Brian Griffin says it is .
"The majority of them are happy because it's a holiday, so you get time-and-a-half." said Griffin. "That's more shopping money for them for the holidays. We still give them time to celebrate with their families. Some people volunteer. We asked for volunteers. If they volunteer than we don't feel as bad about scheduling them on Thanksgiving."
Last year, the few stores that opened on Thanksgiving made more than 800 million dollars combined.