Charleston Town Center will follow the lead of many retailers by opening mall-wide at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
Town Center marketing director Lisa McCracken said the mall would remain open continuously from Thursday evening to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, in order to accommodate the traditional Black Friday rush.
Many stores, including J.C. Penney and Macy's, had already announced plans to open at that time, getting a jump on the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
Because of a late Thanksgiving this year, retailers face a shortened holiday shopping calendar. Many stores had already pushed back Black Friday opening hours from 5 a.m. to midnight last year to welcome some shoppers who would prefer to stay up late, rather than wake up early Friday morning.
McCracken said the mall followed the trend of planning to open at midnight last year. But those plans changed once officials saw the response from shoppers Thursday evening.
"We had over one thousand shoppers waiting to get into the mall by 10 p.m., so we opened the doors," McCracken said.
She said Starbucks opened early and served hundreds of customers between 10 and 11 p.m. Several retailers also decided to decided to push their opening up an hour early to 11 p.m. once they saw the crowds.McCracken said the midnight shoppers seemed to enjoy the experience. She said the typical comment mall officials heard from shoppers was, "It's more fun to stay up late and shop the sales than get up really early in the morning."