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JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Black Friday shoppers got their earliest starts ever at many retailers. Those stores opened on Thanksgiving Day or as early as 8 p.m. to avoid crowds trampling entrances at previous opening times of midnight or 4 a.m. Friday.
In Jeffersontown, shoppers waited in line for the doors of a Target store to open at 9 p.m. Across town, similar crowds of shoppers waited for 8 p.m. openings at other discount and toy chains. Openings could be found on the hour through midnight and again starting at 4 a.m. Friday.
Electronics were the biggest draw at Target and other stores. Some shoppers said they headed to the stores because they were "bored" after a large meal and a day with family. It was a better way to spend Thanksgiving night -- and gave them more shopping time over the rest of the extended holiday weekend.
Major retailers gave out tickets for discounts specific to particular hours. The move also helped shoppers plan ahead. The stores also hired extra security for crowd and traffic control.
National surveys suggest the holiday shopping season accounts for 40 percent or more of a store's annual sales, with 20 percent of the holiday sales taking place over Thanksgiving, or "Black Friday" weekend. It is also the time in which the stores sell enough to go into the "black" -- or profit -- from the year's sales.
The National Retail Federation estimated an average family will spend about $750 on holiday gifts and decorations this year, up only slightly from last year.
Shoppers are also scouting bargains in person this weekend and then turning online to find even better prices. One survey says 51 percent of shoppers will also buy gifts online this year, the first time that figure has exceeded the halfway mark. Online retailers also are offering "Black Friday" weekend bargains and still more for "Black Monday" or "Cyber Monday," which is typically the busiest day for online sales during the season.
Separate promotions offer discounts but also appeal to shoppers' sense of community. One national effort encourages shopping at small, locally-owned businesses on Saturday.