The holiday shopping rush was officially in full swing. Retailers opened their doors early, attracting crowds of shoppers who were eager to cross off names on their holiday list.
The Toys"R"Us in Burbank opened at 9 p.m. Thursday and K-Marts opened at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Best Buy, Macy's and Kohl's opened at midnight and the Ontario Mills shopping mall also opened its doors Thursday night to crowds of fervent shoppers.
Economists predict 2012 will be a big year for retailers. Last year, Americans spent more than $52 billion on Black Friday. That figure is expected to be even higher this year.
Many camped out in long lines to take advantage of the deals.
"This is my favorite shopping day of the year," said Kalah Ishimaru of Monterey. "I don't care about the crowds. I enjoy shopping. I would compare it to a marathon of shopping. So if you're a marathon shopper, this is the day to go out and do your thing."
The Shops at Montebello opened its doors at midnight. Shoppers crowded the mall, filling about 95 percent of the parking lot, said mall spokesman Sam Carpenter.
With all the people out and about, security was a big concern. There were extra officers on patrol in malls across Southern California. Officials want to prevent fights among customers, like the scuffle that broke out at H&M in Culver City and the pepper-spraying incident at a Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch last year.
Also, police advise shoppers to lock items in their cars and remain vigilant of their surroundings.