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Sears, Macy’s holiday offerings  reflect stiff competition

Part-time employee N'DeHill19 Chicago works 'Holiday Lane' Macy's State St. Monday Oct.15 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Part-time employee N'Dea Hill,19, of Chicago, works in "Holiday Lane" at the Macy's on State St. Monday, Oct.15, 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 7, 2012 6:13AM

Two holiday announcements Monday — Macy’s store openings at midnight the morning after Thanksgiving and Sears’ test of free two-day shipping on terms similar to Amazon Prime — are the latest indications of how competitive this holiday will be.

Macy’s said it will join the increasingly long list of retailers offering blockbuster deals just hours after families clean up after Thanksgiving evening dinner — at midnight on so-called Black Friday, the traditional kickoff for holiday shopping.

A new feature on Macy’s mobile app will let shoppers browse and shop for specific items at their local store.

Among Macy’s Black Friday specials will be a free pair of high-definition headphones with any $75 or more purchase of men’s or women’s fragrances, and 40 percent off regularly priced coffee makers, tea kettles and espresso makers.

Meanwhile, Sears said it has launched a loyalty program, “Shop Your Way Max,” to give members who pay a $79 annual fee unlimited two-day free shipping on items bought online at, and

The program is available for a 90-day trial.

Shoppers are expected to push online sales this holiday to 16 percent of the total $586 billion in overall sales, according to Forrester Research. Because shoppers compare prices on their smartphones and digital devices while they shop in stores, retailers such as Macy’s, Target and others are starting to offer price-matching programs.

Sears had earlier announced Sears stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and remain open for 26 straight hours. Sears will offer two doorbuster specials, one at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night and a second at 4 a.m. on Black Friday.

Kmart will open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, and will open again from 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night to 3 a.m. on Black Friday, and will reopen from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Black Friday.

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