NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Black Friday is becoming Black Thursday.
The annual American shopping holiday marks the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and retailers everywhere try to cash in on the early shoppers.
From Macy’s in Herald Square to the Best Buy in Paramus, N.J., shoppers everywhere began lining up long ahead of midnight when these stores will open up.
“I got here pretty early in the AM and I’m excited to go inside and get what I want for this Christmas,” said Suzaly Lugo, outside the Target in East Harlem.
While Target faced criticism for opening on Thanksgiving, that backlash didn’t keep shoppers away. The line there had many shoppers waiting in their pajamas and with their pets. The store had even prepared shopping carts with 46-inch flatscreen televisions on sale.
Many shoppers even sacrificed celebrating Thanksgiving with their families, and most didn’t seem to mind.
Furthermore, not even a shaky economy seems to be stopping shoppers. The National Retail Federation said this year retailers could see a record number of shoppers hitting the stores Black Friday weekend, reaching an estimated 152 million—up 10 percent from last year.
Over at the Midtown K-Mart, discounts as deep as 50 percent off attracted many shoppers to line up during the daytime.
One store manager has already noticed a difference.
“People have been holding their pocket books and holding their wallets a little bit over the last few years, but we are expecting a growth this year,” Zachary Logan, a K-Mart assistant store manager, said.
Retails everywhere are offering big breaks on many products. At the Best Buy in Paramus, the big buy was for a 42-inch LCD HD-TV. The television set normally sells for $600 but was marked down to $199.
Zales, meanwhile, is offering a diamond belt-buckle ring at $599 when it normally sells for $900. At Target, shoppers can get an Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G for $85 down from its original $150.
While the deals may be hard to resist, retail experts recommend that if you’re going out for Black Friday shopping, make a list, have a budget, don’t be tired while you shop, and take along a frugal friend to help you shop.
The Best Buy at Union Square also saw a piece of the Black Friday action.
“I am hoping to buy a Playstation III bundle pack for $200,” Reginald Jackson said. “I mean that’s $170 in savings. It’s genius so I have to be here.”
The lines began early Thursday evening as anxious shoppers prepared for the midnight sales event to the American shopping holiday of the year.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports
Some shoppers, like Ida Torres of Bushwick, said it’s worth it to miss part of Thanksgiving to cash in on the holiday deals.
“A lot of people want to get the best buys,” she said. “Sometimes when you have to make certain sacrifices, that’s what you have to do.”
Torres was bundled up with a fleece blanket while waiting for the store to open.
Greg Packer, meanwhile, got to see the Macy’s Day Parade and eat dinner at a Salvation Army. He said it was only natural to catch the next tradition.
“On the American shopping holiday, you pretty much try to find what you’re looking for and when you find what you’re looking for, you grab it while you can,” he said.