By Mike Augustyniak

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Target and Best Buy announced their Black Friday plans Thursday, and both retailers will be open on Thanksgiving evening.

But bargain hunters don’t even need to wait that long, because both are offering some Black Friday deals starting Thursday.

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Whether you think of Black Friday as a day, or a concept that has morphed into a season, marketing professor Dr. Akshay Rao says it’s still important to retailers.

Particularly this year, in light of what he says is “frugality fatigue.”

Retailers are banking on consumers to take a little risk, and buying a little more, but they’re also fighting some unique challenges.

“Target is in a slightly peculiar position,” Rao said. “The data breach, the Canadian experience and so forth…This is a year where they have taken a lot of correction actions and so this is a hypothesis that they’re testing.”

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Best Buy is looking to deal in a different market.

“Their task is to alert consumers to the disadvantages of purchasing online in terms of quality, in terms of service and this is their opportunity to get them now and defang the price competition issue,” Rao said.

With places like Mall of America making a point of being closed on Thanksgiving, it’s possible companies like Target and Best Buy are worried about a backlash.

“Their calculus of that is that the adverse consequences of that are over-weighed by the demands of their customers,” Rao said.

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If you want to get some of your shopping done now, head over to Target.com and BestBuy.com.

Mike Augustyniak