PITTSFIELD -- Some national retailers are launching the holiday shopping season by opening on Thanksgiving Day, but Massachusetts will be spared -- or denied, depending on your perspective -- the jump on Black Friday bargains, since the state's so-called blue laws prohibit shopping on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Early shoppers here in the Berkshires still will have plenty of options to shop early and seize Black Friday deals -- on Friday. All 60 stores in the Lee Premium Outlets open at midnight Friday for the fifth straight year.
The Kmart in Great Barrington also is opening at midnight. But unlike the outlets, Kmart will close at 3 a.m., and re-open at 5 a.m.
Sears in the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough and Dick's Sporting Goods in Pittsfield will both open at 12:30 a.m.
Lee Premium Outlets, midnight
Kmart (Great Barrington), midnight
Sears (Berkshire Mall), 12:30 a.m.
Dick's Sporting Goods (Pittsfield), 12:30 a.m.
Berkshire Mall, 1 a.m.
J.C. Penney (Berkshire Mall), 6 a.m.
B.J.'s (Pittsfield), 7 a.m.
Walmart (Pittsfield and North Adams), 1 a.m.
The Berkshire Mall itself opens at 1 a.m., which is the same time two of its other anchor stores, Target and Best Buy, will begin admitting customers. The mall's fourth anchor store, J.C. Penney, will open at 6 a.m., two hours later than last year.
The BJ's Club on Hubbard Avenue in Pittsfield opens at 7 a.m.
Nationally, Walmart is opening its stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, but the chain's stores in North Adams and Pittsfield will both open at 1 a.m.
None of the stores in Pittsfield's downtown corridor are opening during the extreme early morning hours on Black Friday, according to Downtown Pittsfield Inc.'s executive director, Pam Tobin.
Some local businesses plan to take part in "Small Business Saturday" this weekend, an event sponsored by American Express that en courages consumers to shop locally. Deidre's Special Day in the Berkshire Common on South Street will also hold a "dash for the dress" event beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, and offer wedding gowns at low prices for the entire day.
Across the country, the number of shoppers who plan to hit the stores on Friday is actually expected to drop slightly from 152 million in 2011 to 147 million this year, according to a preliminary Black Friday survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.
This Thursday, the 22nd of November, is the earliest that Thanksgiving has fallen since 2007.
While a number of Mass achusetts' blue laws have been repealed over the years, the rules governing what days certain stores can be open remains in effect.
Though variances can be given in Massachusetts, the Department of Labor Stan dards is not issuing statewide approvals for permits for businesses to open on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day this year.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
or (413) 496-6224.