New York: US shoppers kept up a two-day buying marathon on Friday that began when more than a dozen major retailers opened on the Thanksgiving holiday, a break with tradition that drew protests from workers.
Crowds of cheering shoppers pushed through the doors at the flagship Macy`s Herald Square in New York City when it opened last night. About 15,000 shoppers were at the store right before the doors opened, estimated Terry Lundgren, CEO, president and chairman of the department store chain.
Across the country, the frenzy continued overnight and through the morning of Black Friday, which until recently had been considered the official start to the holiday shopping season and the biggest shopping day of the year.
It was named Black Friday because that was traditionally when retailers turned a profit, or moved out of the red and into the black.
But in the past few years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night. They`ve also moved to discounting in early November, instead of waiting until Black Friday.
The earlier openings and sales were met with some resistance. Some workers` rights groups had planned protests on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday because they opposed having retail employees miss family meals at home.
Some shoppers had said they would not venture out on Thanksgiving because they believe it`s a sacred holiday meant to spend with family and friends.
Curtis Akins, 51, sat on a bench at 5 am today as his wife looked for deals at a mall in Atlanta`s northern suburbs. "I think it`s going to end because it`s taking away from the traditional Thanksgiving," he said of the Black Friday tradition.
But that sentiment didn`t stop others from taking advantage of the earlier openings and sales.
"We like to shop this time of night ... We`re having a ball," said Rosanne Scrom as she left the Target store in Clifton Park, New York, at 5 am today.
It`s unclear whether or not the early openings will lead shoppers to spend more over the two days or simply spread sales between the two days.
Last year, sales on Thanksgiving were USD 810 million last year, an increase of 55 per cent from the previous year as more stores opened on the holiday, according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak.