Belk will kick off the holiday shopping season by opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will offer other perks including discounts, giveaways, in-store events and extended hours.
The Charlotte-based department store chain’s move comes as other big retailers, including Target and Walmart, are laying out similar plans to draw customers to stores. The holiday shopping season runs for about two months and accounts for approximately 20 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales.
Last year Belk stores also opened at 6 p.m., marking their earliest-ever Thanksgiving opening. The retailer also recently said it’s hiring an additional 5,800 seasonal employees to support its nearly 300 stores during the holiday season.
On Nov. 26, Belk will offer more than 400 doorbuster deals and $1 million in gift card giveaways to the first 250 customers at every store, the company said Monday.
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The retailer’s pre-Thanksgiving sale will run from Nov. 15-21, and its weeklong Thanksgiving sale begins Nov. 22. The department store chain will offer free shipping on Belk.com for orders $50 and over starting Nov. 22.
Additionally, Belk will host a Santafest at all of its stores on Nov. 14 from noon to 3 p.m. The event will feature free photos with Santa, candy canes, holiday crafts, refreshments and the chance for kids ages 4-11 to enter the annual Belkie Bear design contest.
Belk operates 296 stores across 16 states, mainly in the Southeast. The company this summer said it will sell itself for $3 billion to New York-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners. Belk shareholders will meet Wednesday to vote on the deal.
Here are some additional details from Belk:
▪ Dec. 2-26, Belk will hold its annual holiday fundraising campaign, Angel Days, to raise funds for local Title One elementary schools. Shoppers can donate at local Belk stores and 100 percent of the proceeds go to local schools, which can use the funding to support their individual needs.
▪ Belk launches its “Santa baby” marketing campaign Nov. 7. Participants can enter via social media follows, shares and referrals and will get the opportunity to create eCards that could be featured on Belk’s website, personalize Santa baby gifs and vote on a favorite TV commercial ending.