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Retailers will kick off Black Friday on Thursday

Retailers will kick off Black Friday on Thursday

As retailers prepare for the traditional start of the holiday season this coming week, some of the nation's biggest chains plan to pre-empt Black Friday with shopping hours and special events on Thanksgiving Day — a move that has triggered a spate of online protests.

Toys "R" Us will open stores at 9 p.m. and Walmart will follow at 10 p.m., meaning that shoppers may be lining up for bargains soon after their turkey dinners. Target, Best Buy and Kohl's are shifting from their usual pre-dawn Friday openings, welcoming shoppers at midnight. And a growing number of malls and mall stores are promoting openings at midnight or earlier.

Some retailers also will...