Early bird shoppers turn out on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving shopping - Black Friday madness - updated 11/27/2014
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Early bird shoppers turn out on Thanksgiving
NOW: WalMart closed. National Guard and police guarding entrance. #mikebrown https://t.co/1VY2AOZrcq
Shoppers line up outside a Best Buy store for the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
So it begins... #BlackFriday at #Vacaville Outlets. @gucci http://t.co/Ydhqa0CNCM
The police are deep in this Walmart. Gotta give it to them, they are prepared for anything tonight. #Ferguson
A salesperson rings up a sale at a Best Buy store during the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Take a look at the amount of shoppers in Walmart. #BlackFriday #wdam http://t.co/kAFsKNUZWc
Approximately 500 in line for early Black Friday sales at the Henderson Best Buy. Live report after the game #Fox5 http://t.co/LQuFGMFub0
A salesperson scans an iPod Touch at the Best Buy store during the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: People shop at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: People shop at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A boy checks out the toys at the Best Buy store during the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, VA. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Best Buy employee helps a customer load a new big screen TV into his car shortly after the Black Friday doorbuster sale started on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy checks out the toys at the Best Buy store during the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, VA. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A couple shopping for a big screen TV call a friend shortly after the Black Friday doorbuster sale started on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
People line up at the Toys-R-Us store for the Black Friday doorbuster sale started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, VA. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A couple looks at the price of a big screen TV shortly after the Black Friday doorbuster sale started on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Customers grab shopping carts to hunt for early Black Friday deals Thanksgiving evening at a Best Buy on November 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many retailers open the evening before the famous shopping day. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
A Best Buy salesman helps a customer (R) carry his new 50' Samsung TV shortly after the Black Friday doorbuster sale started on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy checks out the toys at the Best Buy store during the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, VA. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Best Buy employees hand out tickets for specific items to shoppers Thanksgiving evening at a Best Buy on November 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many retailers open the evening before the famous shopping day. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Shoppers examine Apple products while looking for Black Friday deals Thanksgiving evening at a Best Buy on November 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many retailers open the evening before the famous shopping day. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Televisions are seen on sale Thanksgiving evening at a Best Buy on November 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many retailers open the evening before the famous Black Friday shopping day. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Shoppers wait in line for early Black Friday deals on tablets Thanksgiving evening at a Best Buy on November 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many retailers open the evening before the famous shopping day. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27: Shoppers hunt for early Black Friday deals Thanksgiving evening at a Best Buy on November 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many retailers open the evening before the famous shopping day. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: A boy looks at a toy at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: A boy waits to enter the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: People shop at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: People shop at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Angela Santamaria, age 5, waits in line to go shopping at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: A man shops at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Women flip through a coupon catalog at the Toys R Us in Times Square on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: People enter the Toys R Us in Times Square at 5PM to begin shopping on November 27, 2014 in New York, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: A crowd of slightly over 30 waits in line for store to open Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Aurora, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Daisy Enriquez and Ricardo Aranda watch movies while waiting in line Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Aurora, Colorado. The couple has been waiting in line since 7:30am with the hopes of picking up one of the $199 televisions. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Jae Kim and Alexandria D'Portillo, 17, look over ads while making up their minds on what they want to pick up Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Aurora, Colorado. The group of eight seniors from Overland High School camped out in front of the store since 2pm on Tuesday. The group hopes to pick up Xbox Ones, Beats headphones and televisions. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Jae Kim looks over the ads on his iPod to decide what he wants to pick up Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Aurora, Colorado. The group of eight students from Overland High School camped out in front of the store starting Tuesday at 2pm. The group was hoping to pick up an Xbox One, Beats headphones and televisions. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Mickey Castro, 17, hops over the fence heading to the restroom Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Aurora, Colorado. Castro was a one of eight students from Overland High School that camped out in front of the store starting Tuesday at 2pm. The group was hoping to pick up an Xbox One, Beats headphones and televisions. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images) Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Jeremy Cazares, 12, waits in line while his mother runs back to the car to get something Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Denver, Colorado. Cazares and his family have been outside of Best Buy since 1:30am with the hopes of grabbing one of the $199 televisions that are on sale. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: A crowd of slightly over 30 waits in line for store to open Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Denver, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Shoppers enter a Kmart discount store, operated Sears Holdings Corp., as the doors open ahead of Black Friday in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. An estimated 140 million U.S. shoppers are expected to hit stores and the Web this weekend in search of discounts, kicking off what retailers predict will be the best holiday season in three years. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A cashier holds a U.S. one dollar bill at the checkout inside a Kmart discount store, operated Sears Holdings Corp., ahead of Black Friday in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. An estimated 140 million U.S. shoppers are expected to hit stores and the Web this weekend in search of discounts, kicking off what retailers predict will be the best holiday season in three years. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shoppers collect shopping carts as they enter a Kmart discount store, operated Sears Holdings Corp., ahead of Black Friday in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. An estimated 140 million U.S. shoppers are expected to hit stores and the Web this weekend in search of discounts, kicking off what retailers predict will be the best holiday season in three years. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DENVER, CO - November 27: A crowd of slightly over 30 waits in line for store to open Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Best Buy in Denver, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Shoppers wait in line at dawn outside a Kmart discount store, operated Sears Holdings Corp., ahead of Black Friday in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. An estimated 140 million U.S. shoppers are expected to hit stores and the Web this weekend in search of discounts, kicking off what retailers predict will be the best holiday season in three years. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City.  Marking the start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is one of retailers' busiest days of the year.  (Michael Nagle, Getty Images)
Eli Izaias, visiting from Brazil, waited in line outside the Target in Somerville. The store opens at 1 AM for Black Friday sales. (Aram Boghosian, The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Jennifer Bass opens the door for a Kohl's employee, as she and her mom were still the first in line at 1:00 a.m. at the north Raleigh, North Carolina store, Friday, November 26, 2010. (Shawn Rocco/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)
People enter Macy's Herald Square store after opening its doors at 8 pm Thanksgiving day on November 28, 2013 in New York City. Black Friday shopping began early again this year with most major retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving day. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Shoppers rush through the doors on Black Friday sale day at Macy's Department Store in New York, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (Peter Foley, Bloomberg via Getty)
Charles Johnson, assistant store manager, hands out vouchers to the first people in line at Kmart on November 22, 2012 in Griffith, Indiana. Shoppers came out for the early deals as the Christmas shopping gets underway on Thanksgiving night. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Black Friday shoppers duck under the opening door of a Sears store at Simon Property Group Inc.'s Great Lakes Mall in Mentor, Ohio, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Retailers are pouring on the discounts to attract consumers grappling with 9 percent unemployment and a slower U.S. economic expansion than previously estimated. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
An employee shouts to colleagues as customers gather around a near-empty display of televisions during a Black Friday discount sale inside an Asda supermarket in Wembley, London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. Britons queued outside Asda supermarkets this morning and charged into stores when doors opened at 8 a.m. as the U.K. grocery chain took on the Black Friday mantle from U.S. owner Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
50'' LED HDTV's wait before the store opening at a Target Corp. store ahead of Black Friday in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.,  on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. U.S. retailers will kick off holiday shopping earlier than ever this year as stores prepare to sell some discounted items at a loss in a battle for consumers. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Shoppers wait in line outside the Times Square Toys R' Us, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. Instead of waiting for Black Friday, which is typically the year's biggest shopping day, more than a dozen major retailers are opening on Thanksgiving this year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

People crowd the first floor of Macy's department store as they open at midnight (0500 GMT) on November 23, 2012 in New York to start the store's "Black Friday" shopping weekend. (Stan Honda, AFP/Getty Images)
Shoppers rush to get in a BestBuy store at 5 a.m. on November 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California, a day after Thanksgiving. Thousands of shoppers queued up for hours outside many retailers to open to take advantage of "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving ,which is considered the traditional kick-off for the Christmas shopping season. With special promotions and deep discounts, most of the year's sales in retail are made during the four weeks leading up to the annual 25 December holiday. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City.  Marking the start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is one of retailers' busiest days of the year. (Michael Nagle, Getty Images)
Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City.  Marking the start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is one of retailers' busiest days of the year. (Michael Nagle, Getty Images)
Black Friday shoppers pack into Best Buy in Aurora, Friday Nov. 26, 2010.  (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post via Getty)
Shoppers at the Toys "R" Us in the Fair Lakes Shopping Center on Thursday November 24, 2011 in Fairfax, VA.  Doors opened at 9 p.m.  (Matt McClain, The Washington Post via Getty)
Sales associate Cody Furline, center, joins the staff in   preparing for a Black Friday rehearsal at Best Buy in Denver, CO November 23, 2013. Employees practiced Black Friday scenarios, managing crowds and organizing lines. Sales Manager Kevin Ribbens said it is especially useful for employees that have never worked on the busiest shopping day of the year.  (By Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post via Getty) 
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People enter to Macy's store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People shop at the JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People shop at the JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People enter the Macy's store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Cruz Alicia Silba looks a shirts in the boys section Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Old Navy in Denver, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Big screen TV's create a traffic jam at the exit of Best Buy during the Black Friday doorbuster sale that started on Thursday November 27, 2014 at 5:00pm in Fairfax, Virginia. Black Friday is a day of deep commercial discounts and frenzied shopping which takes place each year after the Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People waits in line to go shopping at the JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Customers wait in line for checkout Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Old Navy in Denver, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Shoppers browse the jewelry area Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Old Navy in Denver, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - November 27: Jennifer Gomez finishes checking out a customer Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Old Navy in Denver, Colorado. Black Friday started earlier that usual this year with many shoppers flocking to stores that are now opening around 5pm on Thanksgiving Day. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People receive discount coupons as they waits in line to go shopping at the JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People wait in line to go shopping at the JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People waits in line to go shopping at the to JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People enter to JCPenney store at the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: People enter to JCpenny store on the Newport Mall on November 27, 2014 in Jersey City , New Jersey, United States. Black Friday sales, which now begin on the Thursday of Thanksgiving, continue to draw shoppers out for deals and sales. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) - Early-bird shoppers headed to stores on Thanksgiving in what's becoming a new holiday tradition.

By 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, 100 shoppers were in line at the Toys R Us in New York City's Times Square. By the time the doors opened at 5 p.m., the number of people waiting in line had doubled.

Mary Smalls, 40, was there trying to get all her shopping done on Thanksgiving. She said she wanted to avoid heading out on the day after the holiday known as Black Friday.

"I'm going to try to avoid the crowds," said Smalls, who plans on spending $300 or $400 on gifts this year.

Just a few years ago when a few stores started opened late on the holiday, the move was met with resistance from workers and shoppers who believed the day should be sacred.

Last year, more than dozen major retailers opened at some point on Thanksgiving evening. And this year, at least half of them - including Target, Macy's, Staples and J.C. Penney - are opening earlier in the evening on the holiday.

The Thanksgiving openings are one way retailers are trying to compete for Americans' holiday dollars. Used to be that Black Friday was when they'd focus their sales promotions. But increasingly, they've been pushing those promotions earlier on Friday - and eventually into the holiday itself - to grab deal-hungry shoppers' attention.

Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, which tracks data at 70,000 stores globally, is expecting a sales increase of 3 percent to 5 percent to $2.57 billion to $2.62 billion on Thanksgiving. Last year's figure grew two-fold from the year before.

The National Retail Federation expects 25.6 million shoppers to take advantage of the Thanksgiving openings, down slightly down from last year.

Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman at the retail trade group, said that earlier promotions in the month and shoppers' uncertainty about when they can get the best deals are factors that could lead to fewer shoppers coming out on the holiday.

Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is starting to take a bite out of Black Friday business. Indeed, sales dropped 13.2 percent to $9.74 billion on Black Friday last year. Analysts said Thanksgiving sales were in part responsible for the decline.

And Gerald Storch, who runs a retail consultancy called Storch Advisors, said stores that open on Thanksgiving get more of their share for the weekend than others who open on Friday.

"That's why they keep doing it," he said. "You have to be first."

Being first lures shoppers like Tequila Wilkinson, 34, who arrived at an Target in New York's East Harlem neighborhood about 3.5 hours before its 6 p.m. opening. She has been deal hunting on Thanksgiving for a few years now.

"It's a tradition," said Wilkinson. "I look forward to it."

On Wilkinson's shopping list? A 40-inch TV for $119 and headphones for $97 and pajamas for $5. "I made a map in my brain," she said.

Not every shopper is happy about stores opening on the holiday. A number of petitions have been circulating on change.org targeting Wal-Mart, Target and other retailers for opening their stores on Thanksgiving, or starting their sales that day. Most of Wal-Mart's stores already open around the clock.

Even some shoppers who were out on Thanksgiving felt a tinge of guilt for shopping on a holiday. "Every year, you have to keep coming in earlier and earlier," said Hector Huayamade, 34, who was shopping at a Toys R Us store in New York while visiting from Florida with his family. "I'd prefer to spend the whole day with my family, but the stores are open so we do it."

Not every store was open on Thanksgiving, though. Some, including GameStop, Costco and Ikea, have said they won't open because they want their workers to enjoy the holiday with their families.

"At GameStop, we often use the phrase 'protect the family' in reference to our business," the video game retailer said in a company statement.

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