Thursday marked the first time major department stores at the Glendale Galleria opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Three of the Galleria’s major retailers, including J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Target, opened before the traditional Black Friday, along with nearly 25 other mall retailers. The official opening for the mall was midnight.

Larry Martin, senior general manager for the Galleria, said competition from big box retailers led the major department stores to open earlier this year.

“If Wal-Mart might be opening or any of the electronic big stores out there (are) opening as early as 6 or 7, clearly we want to get that customer that is already out there shopping,” Martin said.

Depending on the sales numbers this year, the mall might open around the same time next year. Martin said the holiday season for the Galleria received a jump start from the recently completed renovation that included the opening of Bloomingdale’s and 32 new stores.

The mall is owned by Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc.