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Christmas Shopping Season is Officially Under Way

Updated: 11/29/2013 7:26 AM
Created: 11/28/2013 1:23 PM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste

As more than a dozen major retailers from Target to Toys R Us open on Thanksgiving, shoppers across the country got a jump start on holiday shopping. The Thanksgiving openings come despite planned protests across the country from workers' groups that are against employees missing Thanksgiving meals at home.

When a KSTP-TV crew stopped by Best Buy in Roseville, there was a lot of enthusiasm from shoppers and employees. It didn't take long for the store to fill up with people looking for a great deal.

At 6 a.m. Thursday, shoppers were out at Kmart in St. Paul. One shopper we talked to said everything was 50 percent off, and "it's definitely worth it."

The holiday openings are a break with tradition. The day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday, for a decade had been considered the official start to the holiday buying season. It's also typically the biggest shopping day of the year.
    
But in the past few years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night. They've also pushed up discounting that used to be reserved for Black Friday into early November, which has led retail experts to question whether the Thanksgiving openings will steal some of Black Friday's thunder.
    
In fact, Thanksgiving openings took a bite out of Black Friday sales last year: Sales on turkey day were $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the previous year as more stores opened on the holiday, according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak. But sales dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on Black Friday, though it still was the biggest shopping day last year.
    
"Black Friday is now Gray Friday," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy. "It's been pulled all the way to the beginning of November."

Click here for a Black Friday shopping guide.
    
The Associated Press Contributed to this Report.


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