J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP ) will be opening Thanksgiving night at 8 this year, 10 hours earlier than last year, when it didn't open until 6 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so-called Black Friday.
"Obviously, we were one of the last to open (last year)," said Tony Bartlett, Penney's executive vice president of stores. But he noted this year, "We're all in."
The company said it will be "pulling out all the stops to be competitive this holiday season," and also announced it would be giving away almost 2 million Disney snow globes, a tradition it suspended last year at the request of former CEO Ron Johnson.
J.C. Penney also announced that employees in the home office and other salaried employees will "get the opportunity to volunteer in a J.C. Penney store of their choice for Thanksgiving/Black Friday," noting they would be able to help customers, restock merchandise, and "spread holiday cheer."
Penney is also hiring at least 35,000 seasonal workers for the holidays, nearly 50% more than a year ago.
Macy's announced this week that most of its stores will also be opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, joining other retailers in kicking off the holiday shopping season before Black Friday. At the time of this writing, Target and Wal-Mart had not announced their 2013 holiday plans, but last year they opened at 9 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, on Thanksgiving Day.
Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney is doing all it can to recover as a result of plummeting sales. Its stock is down almost 65% year to date. Last week the company announced that while September sales were up almost 6% from August, they were still down 4% when compared to September 2012. It also issued an additional 84 million in shares at the beginning of October, which netted it $785 million in cash .
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.