The annual U.S. Black Friday shopping extravaganza is losing its distinctive edge.
While many still choose to hunt for bargains on Friday, retailers began offering discounts much earlier to lure consumers.
With most big retailers opening on Thursday, many rushed to stores on the night of the U.S. holiday, making Thanksgiving Day a new tradition for some shoppers.
Online stores also reported a significant increase in sales.
Shoppers spent more than 1.7 billion U.S. dollars on online purchases on Thursday, a hike of 25 percent from the same period last year.
And over the four-day holiday weekend, estimates show 135.8 million people will be shopping, a modest 1.6 percent increase from last year.
The spending frenzy is being felt not only across America, but also in other countries.
“For me, Black Friday is a good idea for the economy of the country, for Spain, because prices are low and because the people now don’t have a lot of money because of the crisis of 2008.”
“I find it interesting that everybody can participate. Last year I saw only big stores but this year I saw the stores of my neighborhood also joined in.”
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, was named because spending would pick up and retailers would begin to turn a profit – moving from the red into the black.
Retailers hope the promotions will kick-start a holiday shopping season that will last till year end.