Even so, analysts say earlier opening times may not necessarily translate into higher revenue. The sales that stores rack up on Thanksgiving may eat into purchases that typically take place on Black Friday and the rest of the weekend.
"I really don't think it means very much," said Maggie Gilliam of the New York-based research firm Gilliam & Co. "The earlier you get people in, the more likely they are to keep spending, but frankly, I wouldn't read too much into it."
But as long as demand for Thanksgiving Day shopping remains high, retailers say they will continue to open earlier.
"Shoppers have shown us that they love wrapping up their Thanksgiving meals, grabbing their coats and going shopping," said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation. "There are millions of people who do want to shop on Thanksgiving Day."