CHICAGO (CBS) — While most people will be digesting their turkey dinner next Thursday night, some retail employees will be heading out to work.

WBBM’s Regine Schlesinger reports one Chicago expert thinks it’s just a matter of time before many stores are open all day on Thanksgiving.

“Today business is 24/7,” said John Challenger, of Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

As brick-and-mortar retailers compete with each other and online sellers, stores keep opening earlier and earlier.

This year, Wal-Mart, Sears, K-Mart and Toys R Us will all open their doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Challenger says it’s a trend called “Black Friday creep”–a sort of retail arms race.

“It seems inevitable that pretty soon, it’s all going to come down and these retailers will be open all day,” he said

Challenger says three states, Massachussets, Maine and Rhode Island, actually have laws, prohibiting retailers from opening on Thanksgiving.

He says there’s growing evidence of a consumer backlash as thousands sign on-line petitions to “save Thanksgiving” and keep stores closed on what once was a sacred day off for all but the food industry and essential employees.