Shoppers flock to stores, malls for early Black Friday deals

Updated:

More than 400 people lined up at a Cobb County Kmart for door buster deals that started at 6 a.m.

ATLANTA - As Thanksgiving comes to an end, the holiday shopping season is hitting its busiest time as shoppers head to the stores for Black Friday deals.

Channel 2 Action News has been showing viewers people waiting in lines at area Best Buys, Walmarts and Kmarts since Monday.

Channel 2's Liz Artz found people who started their Black Friday shopping at 6 a.m. Thursday morning at a Cobb County Kmart.

Emily Morgalis told Artz she wasn't fighting the crowds of Black Friday and was getting a jump start on the craziness that's sure to come.

"Probably end up out tomorrow too, trying to get a big TV at some point," Morgalis said.

The Morgalis family has made a tradition of Black Friday shopping that starts earlier and earlier every year. Some have already dubbed Thanksgiving as Grey Thursday.

"I didn't really like it because people are getting a jump start in front of me," Morgalis said.

More than 400 people lined up behind her for door buster deals that started at 6 a.m. The biggest crowd store manager Bill Bonsar has seen in the 20 years the retail giant has opened Thanksgiving Day.

"This morning we were up 50 to 60 percent over last year same time," Bonsar said.

Managers say Thursday's in-store sales stayed strong all day, still seeing that 60 percent by late afternoon.

"Not only are they going to be higher in store, but it's off the charts on line," Bonsar said.

As of 4 p.m., Kmart's online sales had tripled from this same time last year.

Shamika Smith said she prefers camping out to surfing the web for that layaway option.

"I researched it, came up the only place doing layaway," Smith said.

Kmart is the only store that allows door buster items to go on layaway, another reason why managers said sales have been so high today.

The Cobb County location closed its doors at 4 p.m. and was going to reopen at 8 p.m.

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In Alpharetta, Channel 2's Ashley Swann found people waiting in line for Toys 'R Us to open its doors at 8 p.m.

Swann said the first two people started lining up around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The first 200 through the door Thursday night were expected to get a gift bag filled with $30 worth of stocking stuffers.

Retailers are pulling out all the stops, offering huge discounts and special offers to the first shoppers through the doors.
In Dunwoody, people have been camped out outside Best Buy for days. That store will open for shoppers at midnight tonight.

People know what they want. They have strategized with their families. Many said this weekend of shopping has become just as big a part of their Thanksgiving tradition as the turkey and dressing.

"It's fun for us. We have a ball. We make a big thing out of it. And after we go shopping we go eat at Waffle House at 4 o'clock in the morning and laugh," said shopper Deanna Stahl.

Stahl said she was waiting to get her hands on LaLa-Loopsy dolls for her daughters, which were 40 percent off.

The other item Swann heard mentioned again and again from people in line were the Cadillac Escalade power wheels, which were $150 off Thursday night.

Stay with Channel 2 Action News and WSBTV.com as Black Friday gets under way.

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