Macy's starts the Thanksgiving wars with a 6 p.m. opening

Macy's on Tuesday announced that it will open the doors to its full-line department stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year. Although Macy's is the first to announce its Thanksgiving plans, it won't be the last – Wal-Mart, Target, and others also opened their doors on the holiday last year.

Mark Lennihan/AP/File
Macy's department store in Herald Square is illuminated with holiday lighting, in New York.

Get ready to finish your turkey and stuffing a few hours earlier this year.

Macy's on Tuesday announced that it will open the doors to its full-line department stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year.

Although Macy's is the first to announce its Thanksgiving plans, it certainly won't be the last. In 2013, J.C. PenneyWal-MartTarget and others also opened their doors on the holiday.

Macy's spokeswoman Holly Thomas said that last year, its flagship Herald Square store broke its record for a Thanksgiving weekend opening, with 15,000 people waiting at the doors. It was the first time the department store opened on Thanksgiving Day; in 2012, it opened at midnight on Black Friday.

Experts have stressed the importance of retailers catering to shoppers' desire to head to the mall when they finish Thanksgiving dinner. By opening early, companies can not only grab an early share of customers' wallets, but they can also build loyalty for the season—and perhaps get them to increase their budgets as the calendar gets closer to Christmas.

The Thanksgiving shopping trend is only exacerbated by online. According to PwC's Holiday Outlook study, 49 percent of shoppers plan to browse online to research products and make purchases on Thanksgiving morning.

Thomas said the majority of the Thanksgiving Day shifts have already been filled voluntarily. She said the company received feedback last year that many of its employees "appreciated the opportunity to work on Thanksgiving so they could have time off on Black Friday," as well as the additional pay they receive for working a holiday. For any shift that begins on Thursday, employees will be paid time-and-a-half.

Macy's announced last month that it will hire 86,000 seasonal workers this holiday, an increase of about 3.6 percent compared to 2013.

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