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'Black Friday' holiday shopping blitz begins

Shoppers are got an early head start on 'Black Friday" at the Citadel outlets in Commerce.

November 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The early holiday shopping frenzy began late Thursday night as stores opened to motivated shoppers.

Los Angeles firefighters reportedly were called to a Wal-Mart store in Porter Ranch due to 10 shoppers being injured at about 10:20 p.m. Thursday.

Authorities say at least 10 people suffered minor injuries inside a crowded Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles after a female shopper used pepper spray during a confrontation.

A Los Angeles fire spokesman said the injuries, all of them minor, were due to "rapid crowd movement."

Police said a woman used pepper spray, hitting other customers. It's unknown what caused the confrontation.

Nearly half the country, 152 million people, plan to shop over Black Friday weekend. They're expected to spend $465 billion, up nearly 3 percent over last year.

Projected online sales this year are more than $50 billion.

Earlier than ever before, the doors at Toys "R" Us opened wide on Thanksgiving Day and the crowd moved in. First stop for almost everyone: the electronics department. Shoppers were buying for young and old alike.

Toys "R" Us opened at 9 p.m. Wal-Mart's specials began at 10 p.m.

Earlier Thursday, savvy shoppers revved up their engines and began attacking that holiday shopping list at the Burbank Kmart. Doors opened extra early at 6 a.m. Thursday and a steady stream of shoppers roamed the aisles throughout the day.

"The bargains, I saw the ad and I just had to get over here. I'm sick and I still came," said shopper Margie Alvarez.

Another bargain-hunter Jenny Martinez said she's been up since 6 a.m. and came to Kmart to shop for her kids' presents.

One deal shoppers were looking at was a 32-inch LCD-screen TV for $200 and an Xbox game console also for $200.

"This is the 20th year since Kmart has been open on Thanksgiving and we're so happy to see the customers out there - our loyal customers coming in. We're ready to give them good service and great deals," said store manager Brian Egan.

Eagan said some of the top door-buster deals include a savings of $150 on the Panasonic 42-inch TV and a discount of 50 percent on a variety of toys and small kitchen appliances with prices reaching as low as $4.99.

Deals that are usually reserved for Black Friday are now available on Thanksgiving at many stores.

"It's a big competition. Some people are opening tonight at 12, and Kmart is actually stepping up a little bit," said shopper Chris Cartee.

One of the advantages of shopping before Black Friday is you get all the deals without all the crowds. Shoppers out on Thanksgiving Day said they appreciate some stores opening pre-Black Friday, but not everyone is happy about it.

"I'd rather stay home and eat and enjoy family time," said Sunland resident Arieneh Tahmasain.

Hundreds of thousands of retail employees across the nation have signed online petitions, urging stores to reconsider opening early, forcing workers to miss spending time with their families and enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday.

But with bargain hunters camped outside stores like the Best Buy in Burbank, the competition for the earliest bargain buy will likely only get bigger in the years to come.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Many shoppers said sacrificing a turkey dinner for a good deal is well worth it when it comes to your wallet.

"Just to give up that little time just to get the good deals, it saves a lot of money, especially in this economy every penny counts," said Cartee.

If you're not willing to give up your Thanksgiving holiday to shop, don't fret. Consumer Reports say shoppers will find some of the best deals on the most popular electronics two weeks after Thanksgiving.

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