Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie — and don't forget Black Friday specials to start the holiday shopping season.

Some stores are already out with their sales, while specials are "leaking" onto the internet via sites like BestBlackFriday.com.

Sandy Becker, professor of marketing at Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick and Newark, says the original purpose of Black Friday — to bring extra traffic into stores and malls — has not changed.

Poster for Black Friday specials at Best Buy in Manahawkin (H. Rogers)

Becker said Black Friday sales spilled over into Thanksgiving in the past few years when stores began opening in the afternoon and evening.

"There was a lot of negativity around opening on Thanksgiving Day," Becker said.

"I believe it was last year or two years ago there was a lot of public relations issues ... a lot consumers were unhappy not only for opening but forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving Day and not being with their families."

There are even websites that track which stores WON'T open on Thanksgiving.

But Black Friday isn't likely going away, Becker says, and it remains an opportunity for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers to start the holiday shopping season.

"There's an encouragement to continue to show up in person where there are some sales that are in-store only. There is a wide range of opportunity online as well. There's Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, with significant sales there," Becker said.

Here are some of the biggest deals this holiday from major New Jersey retailers.  Keep in mind, quantities are limited and stores may vary their hours. Also, some offers require signing up for a store's rewards club.

  • Best Buy: Stores will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Their Black Friday ad is live now. Among the biggest specials: Savings of $125 on iPad mini 4. KitchenAid Professional 500 Series Stand Mixer for $199.99. Save up to $250 on select MacBooks. Best Buy is offering what BestBlackFriday.com considers one of the best Black Friday specials: a Sharp 50-inch 4K HDTV for $179.99, a savings of $320.
  • BJ Wholesale: The membership warehouse will close on Thanksgiving and open at 7 a.m. Friday. Items will be available online and in the store starting Nov. 17. Among their specials are a number of HDTVs on sale and $100 off a PS4 1TB console.
  • Costco: You'll have to wait until Black Friday morning at 9 a.m. to start shopping, although their deals have been available since Oct. 30. A membership is required to shop at Costco. There's a second set of deals available starting on Black Friday.
  • JC Penney: Stores will open at 2 p.m. Thanksgiving through 10 p.m. on Black Friday. Thursday shoppers will have the chance at coupons worth $500 and $100 off their purchase, but restrictions apply. Their offers will be available online starting Nov. 19.
  • Kmart: Stores open at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving, the earliest of any chain, and stay open until at least midnight. Stores will reopen again on Friday, featuring laptops up to $250 off. Among the specials announced so far, a Samsung 55-inch TV at $499.99.
  • Kohl's: Stores open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving but Black Friday deals will begin Monday, Nov. 20 at midnight. Among their specials: an Xbox One S console with $45 Kohl's Cash for only $189.99 and a Haier 55-inch 4K Ultra HDTV with $90 Kohl's Cash for only $299.99.
  • Macy's: The chain will open its stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open until 2 a.m. Stores will reopen on Friday at 6 a.m. Among their Black Friday specials are $70 off the series 1 Apple Watch and 50 per cent off some men's and women's shoes and boots. Macy's is also offering free doorbuster specials from 5 p.m. Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday, and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • PC Richard & Son: PC Richard will not open on Thanksgiving Day and is offering Black Friday specials all month long.  Among its specials: 40-percent-off employee prices on appliances, 40 percent off on select TVs, and employee pricing on Sealy mattresses.
  • Sam's Club: The membership store is closed on Thanksgiving with a sale on their website. Locations will open on Black Friday at 7 a.m. Look for specials on HDTVs, the iPhone 6 and other electronics.
  • Sears: Stores will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving and again starting at 5 a.m. on Friday. According to its Black Friday flyer, Sears will offer 10-50 percent off everything in the store and up to 40 percent off appliances.
  • Staples: The store is closed on Thanksgiving with online shopping available. Stores will open at 7 a.m. Their ad on bestblackfriday.com includes specials on laptops and monitors with free tech support through the end of January 2018.
  • Target: The stores will open Thanksgiving 6 p.m. to midnight and then reopen Friday at 6 a.m. Their best deal is the XBox One S 5000 GB console for $189.99, a savings of $90. RED Card holders get access to over 150 deals starting on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
  • Toys R Us: The New Jersey-based toy chain opens at 5 a.m. and stays open through 11 p.m. on Black Friday. Black FridaypPrices in their The Ultimate Guide to Play are available now. They will also offer in-store only door busters.
  • Walmart: Shoppers can start at 6 p.m. on Thursday and keep at it until midnight on Friday. Black Friday deals will be available on their website before the stores open.  Their online flyer includes a store map.

Contact  reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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