A trend toward stores opening at the stroke of Black Friday is taking hold this year in Burbank and Glendale retail centers.
Several national retail chains, including Macy's and Target, with stores in the Glendale Galleria, will open at midnight on Black Friday, hoping to lure shoppers with bargains as early as possible on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Nineteen other stores and eateries in the mega-mall, including Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret and the Disney Store, are also scheduled to open at midnight.
"I think it's a good strategy," said Shoshana Puccia, senior marketing manager at the Galleria. "People are looking for other options [with] their shopping experience."
Only Forever 21 is slated to open at midnight at the Americana at Brand, according to Karen Diehl, a spokeswoman for the outdoor mall.
At the Empire Center in Burbank, Target and Best Buy will also open at midnight.
And if the past is any indication, customers will be waiting.
Last year, by the time the Burbank Best Buy opened at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, about 380 people were waiting in line, a store employee said.
The Disney Store in the Galleria has opened at midnight the past four years, part of a chain-wide marketing effort, spokeswoman Marisa Martinez said.
"At midnight, there are lots of families — moms, grandmas and aunts," she said. "It's sort of an extension of their Thanksgiving,"
Families with children began arriving around 8 a.m. on Black Friday last year, she added.
Some Galleria shoppers had mixed reactions about the trend to open stores even earlier.
"I think it's insane," said Natalie Wright, 33, of Los Feliz. "This country consumes enough. We don't need to start shopping in the middle of the night when we're supposed to be sleeping."
Even if it's a relatively short sleep, other shoppers said they'd be sticking to tradition and hitting stores up for the usual early-morning start times.
"I'll wait until 5 a.m.," said Laura Deleon, 26, of North Hollywood.
For the employees who have to man the stores at midnight, the schedule means less Thanksgiving and more prep for work.
Mark Torres, a 35-year-old Target employee in the Galleria, said he'll have to go to bed around 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving to get to work by 11:15 p.m. His shift runs until 7:45 a.m. on Black Friday.
"I don't like that," he said. "I don't think it's a wise idea."
But the extra shopping hours, and the allure of early holiday deals, struck other shoppers Tuesday as an opportunity.
"I'm thinking about it," said Heather Iniguez, 35, of Santa Clarita. "I'd like to get it over with and save money. And at least I'd know my kids were at home safe with dad while I'm shopping."
And for those still ticking on different time zones, like 35-year-old Julie Wright — a flight attendant from England who was shopping at the Galleria — the midnight openings could be convenient.
"I'm normally up at that time anyway, so why not get some bargains?" she said.