Curtis Akins, 51, drove about three hours from Tifton, Ga., to watch the annual Macy's tree-lighting ceremony at Lenox Square mall in Atlanta on Thanksgiving. The store opened for shoppers at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and the rest of the mall opened at midnight.
By 5 a.m. Friday, he was sitting on a bench — looking slightly exhausted — inside another mall as his wife shopped for deals. The North Point Mall in Atlanta's northern suburbs had the feel of an airport terminal in the pre-dawn hours, with some store gates open, others closed and many shoppers slowly shuffling along, bleary-eyed.
Akins said he wasn't keen on Black Friday starting earlier and earlier.
"I think it's going to end because it's taking away from the traditional Thanksgiving," he said.
— Jeff Martin, Associated Press, Alpharetta, Ga.
— Friday, 7:10 a.m.: Target Corp. has announced a "very successful start" to the Black Friday shopping weekend.
The retailer opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than a year ago. At Target.com, where nearly all the deals were available on Thanksgiving, traffic and sales were among the highest the Minneapolis-based retailer has seen in a single day.
In the early morning hours after the deals first became available, Target says its website saw two times more orders compared with a year ago at that time.
Hot items include Apple Inc.'s iPad Air, several large-screen TVs and Nintendo's 3DS XL, which all sold out by mid-morning Thursday. In stores, crowds began gathering hours before the 8 p.m. opening. Target said that lines stretched several blocks.
Target said the stores' electronics and toys sections were popular destinations. In many locations, the Element 52-inch TV sold out in minutes.
— Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer, New York