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The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday 2011

MainStreet.com Staff

Where to Start?

With stores inching their Black Friday hours earlier and earlier to try to capitalize on the tryptophan-induced coma of post-Thanksgiving shoppers, it's important to know just who has what and when, especially since doorbuster deals have expiration times as early as 11 a.m. on Black Friday.

MainStreet rounded up nine major Black Friday retailers with details on their store hours and best deals in order to help you prepare for what may be a day of shopping madness. Before you head out to do your holiday shopping, make sure you check these retailers' websites for your local store's hours, as some may differ based on state laws. Also, be mindful of the "limited supply" phrase used in many Black Friday deal details, it may sound like a great doorbuster deal, but if there are only three of them, you may find yourself out of luck.

So, off you go! Shop smart and score some awesome deals.

Old Navy

Hours: Open Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Black Friday from midnight - ?

Gobblepalooza.com is the home for Old Navy's Black Friday and Thanksgiving deals, and right off the bat, the website offers shoppers a $10 coupon for any in-store purchase of $50 or more. Of course, the retailer has low prices on tons of holiday essentials for kids, men and women. On Black Friday, stores will give away a free Kodak EasyShare Sport camera with every $40 purchase, although the site says "supplies are very limited." The apparel deals available on Black Friday include $15 jeans for adults $10 jeans for kids, which is $5 cheaper than the retailer's Thanksgiving Day jeans deal. It seems Black Friday is the best time to shop the Old Navy offerings.

Toys R Us

Hours: 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving - 10 p.m. on Black Friday

Toys R Us released its list of hot holiday toys back in September, but in case you thought shopping for holiday toys before Halloween was too early, the toy retailer has some great offerings for Black Friday shoppers. Doorbusters are key at Toys R Us, and the retailer's best deals run from 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night until 1 p.m. Black Friday afternoon. After that, prices will revert to the store's regular Black Friday deals.


Hours: 10 p.m. Thanksgiving - 11:59 p.m. Black Friday

Wal-Mart is throwing open the doors this year and welcoming new customers with a slew of TV deals. As we reported earlier in the month, Wal-Mart's Black Friday ad has offers for a 32-inch LCD TV for only $188 and a Samsung 51-inch Plasma TV for just $498. To get these deals, you'll have to wait a full two hours after doors open, since although certain sales start at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, these TV offers are only available starting at midnight. There will also be another round of deals available starting at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.


Hours: Midnight - 11 p.m. on Black Friday

Target has some great doorbuster sales this year, with a Sony Blu-ray player for only $79.99. The real test of the retailer's Black Friday sales will be its surprise doorbusters, which shoppers can get by texting MORETVs to 827438 or by going to target.com/moretvs. The "surprise" deals consist mostly of TVs and home theater equipment and some are only available in select stores, so make sure you visit the site to get the details before you head out at midnight.

Best Buy

Hours: Midnight - 10 p.m. on Black Friday

If you're interested in camping out in front of your local Best Buy on Thanksgiving evening before the doors open at midnight, Best Buy will provide the entertainment: The store will actually host an outdoor screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving to get shoppers in the magical deal-hunting spirit. The screenings are only happening at select stores, so check the Best Buy site for details, and refreshments and giveaways will also be held at the store starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

As far as the deals go, it might be better to shop online for Best Buy's Black Friday deals, as many of the great doorbuster sales available in stores starting at midnight are available early on Thanksgiving Day at BestBuy.com.


Midnight on Black Friday - ?

Macy's has a slew of great deals this year on everything from men's and women's apparel to home supplies. One of the best deals we saw in its catalog preview is for 40% off all regular-priced coffee makers, tea kettles and espresso makers. The coffee machines truly range from high- to low-end, with discounted prices from $5.99 to $2,520. Check Macy's Black Friday Specials page for more deals.


Hours: 4 a.m. - ?

When it comes to major appliances, Sears is the go-to retailer for shoppers, and this year's Black Friday offerings don't disappoint. Sears has a Kenmore washer and dryer on sale for 50% off each, bringing the cost down from $940.99 each to $469.99 each. However, that deal gets a little less appealing after 1 p.m., when the price on each one goes up to $499.99. Following a major Black Friday trend this year, Sears also has some great TV deals, so check out your local store's circular for more details and remember that doorbuster sales end at 1 p.m.


Hours: 5 a.m. - ?

Kmart is calling its holiday sales day "Blue Friday" this year, in a reference to the store's regular "blue light special" deals, and the retailer is offering free gift-wrapping at participating stores from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. for items that cost $24.99 or more. Doorbuster deals will only be available until 11 a.m., but they include discounts on certain video games of up to $25 and a Christmas tree for only $19.99.


Hours: 5:30 a.m. - ?

Gift cards are key this year to RadioShack's deals. The electronics retailer has some great Black Friday offerings, including deals on the new Kindle and Nook Color. The e-readers come with a $10 and $20 gift card, respectively, to RadioShack so you can snag a case or maybe some headphones for the device too.

As with Best Buy, RadioShack will offer some of its in-store Black Friday sales online on Thanksgiving Day, but this doesn't apply to all products, so do your research.