November 12, 2009 at 11:54 AM EST - Updated June 21 at 7:21 AM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In preparation for the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday that most of its stores will be open 24 hours for "post-Thanksgiving Day events."
Nearly all 2,737 Wal-Mart Supercenters are already 24 hours, but the change will apply to almost all of the retailer's 810 discount stores. Local law in some areas prevent stores from operating 24 hours.
Last year, Wal-Mart discount stores closed in the evening on Thanksgiving Day and reopened early for Black Friday. In some instances, shoppers became unruly, with one worker trampled to death at store in Valley Stream, N.Y.
In a statement, Wal-Mart said store-specific plans "were developed in consultation with leading safety experts" to address how customers will enter, flow throughout the store and around sales merchandise and through checkout aisles.
"This is part of our overall program to make our stores safer and more convenient for our customers this year," said Daphne Moore, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart.
The in-store specials will be available in all stores beginning at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.