Black Friday begins earlier than ever, and those extra hours and extra discounts appear to have drawn quite a crowd. NBC News' John Yang reports.
By msnbc.com staff and NBC News
Updated 5:55 p.m. ET: If you think the Black Friday crowds were big at your local stores, you should have tried shopping in New York City, where an estimated 10,000 people were waiting when the Macy's flagship store opened at midnight.
Many retailers opened early across the country to take advantage of buyers' pent-up demand for the annual deals, which NBC News' Janel Klein reported can make up to 40 percent of a store's profits for the entire year.
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"I thought I was going to get run over," Lindsay O'Rourke said after shopping at a Target store in Tulsa, Okla.
"I was holding onto my aunt so I wouldn't get run over," she told NBC station KJRH.
Thirty-two stores opened at midnight at NorthPark Mall in Davenport, Iowa, NBC station KWQC reported.
Michelle Mandell, an employee at Victoria's Secret in the mall, said people were shoving one other to get to their favorite merchandise.
"It was insane. I had people climbing my merchandise and throwing product through the store. It was crazy," she said.
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Despite the down economy, the National Retail Federation predicts a 2.8 percent increase in holiday spending this year over last, with as many as 152 million people hitting the stores this weekend, up 10 percent from last year.
"The electronics are very big ? the tablets, the smartphones ? but clothing is very big, as well," Jon Hurst of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts told NBC station WHDH of Boston. "And you know, of course, toys always do well in any economy."
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People began lining up early this week to keep their spot in line for Friday's sales at a Kohl's department store in Boise, Idaho. Some people planned out their shopping route, dividing up family members to cover the store faster.
"We have people all over. We have people in the kids department. We're in the linens department. We have an aunt that is down in the clothing department," Jess Huntington of Boise told NBC station KTVB.
"We've got it covered," he said:
Matt Lokay, general manager of a Best Buy store in Wichita, Kan., said it was "a lot busier than I expected."
TVs, games, and gadgets were flying off store shelves across the country. NBC's Janel Klein and CNBC's Julia Boorstin report.
"Our line actually went all the way down 21st Street by the apartments next door," Lokay told NBC station KSN.
"You get great deals and save a lot of money," said Jennifer Duda, who waited outside a Toys 'R Us store in Wichita, which opened at 9 p.m. Thursday.
"My mom is going to the left and I'm going to the right, and then we're going to meet in the electronics with a cart, hopefully," Duda said.