NEW YORK – As the run-up to holiday shopping intensifies, Target Corp. said Friday that its stores will open at midnight on Thanksgiving Day for the first time. That’s four hours earlier than last year.

The stores will stay open for 23 hours and close at 11 p.m. Friday. Target spokeswoman Susan Kahn said the change was a response to customers’ demands.

Retailers have expanded their Black Friday hours each year recently. The season’s kickoff overtook Thanksgiving Day last year, when Sears Holdings Corp. opened most Sears and Kmart stores Thanksgiving morning for the first time. Toys R Us stores opened at 10 p.m. Some stores in Gap Inc.’s Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic chains also opened Thanksgiving Day last year.