MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, spending the day with family and friends, eating turkey and watching football right? This year, it’s also about shopping as Black Friday creeps into Thanksgiving Thursday with the early opening of stores and malls.
The goal for retailers: snag shoppers who are hoping to score some early holiday deals.
Dolphin Mall and Sawgrass Mills Mall opened Thursday at 9 p.m.
Dadeland Mall and Miami International Mall open at midnight Thursday.
Aventura Mall and The Falls will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
K-Mart stores opened at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.
At Brandsmart U.S.A at Sawgrass Mills, hundreds of shoppers waited for the doors to open about 9 p.m.
“I came first at nine in the morning,” said Lincoln Martins. He ended up with the coveted first spot in line and ended up with a television and tablet for a little more than $200. “A good deal, my wife was totally against it but I think even she will be happy about it,” he said.
Some shoppers came from the Carribean to get in on the Black Friday deals. “You save a lot when you shop here as opposed to Jamaica we save a lot,” said Silmadel Maxwell.
At the Best Buy on Bird Road in southwest Miami-Dade, shoppers had formed a long line outside the doors by 6 p.m.
Who started that line? A group of folks that showed up on Wednesday night, armed with lawn chairs, blankets, umbrellas for comfort, and with smartphones to pass the time:
This is the sixth Black Friday for shopper Rudy Rodriguez, who said that while he usually camps out for days, he wasn’t allowed to this year.
Rodriguez was ready with a long list. “I’m trying to get a TV and a computer, and a tablet for my daughter,” he said.
Walmart is open 24 hours, so it will stay open all day on Thanksgiving, with specials offered at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday and 5 a.m. on Friday.
Bass Pro Shops opened at 8:00 a.m. Thursday.
Sears and Toys”R”Us are opening at 8 p.m. Target is opening at 9 p.m. Loads of stores, including Macy’s, The Gap, Old Navy and Best Buy are opening at midnight.
BrandsMart USA opens at 9 p.m. Thursday.
J.C. Penney locations will open at 6 a.m. Friday.
Nationwide, 17 percent of consumers, or 41 million people are expected to shop on Thanksgiving, according to the latest consumer holiday tracking survey, released Tuesday by The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.
The holiday shopping season is critical for retailers. It’s a period when they typically generate 20 percent to 40 percent of the full year’s revenue.
The Florida Retail Federation forecasts that Florida will see a 5.3 percent jump in holiday spending this year, to $58 billion — marking the highest percentage growth predicted since the recession.
Driven in large part by tourists and snowbirds, Florida is expected to outpace the nation: holiday spending nationwide is forecast to rise 4.1 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. On average, consumers are expected to spend about $750 each.
Black Friday, which is best known for holiday shopping, is actually not the heaviest shopping day, said Rick McAllister, president and chief executive of the Florida Retail Federation. In fact, Dec. 24 is the busiest shopping day of the year. And with Christmas Eve falling on a Monday this year, retailers are expecting a greater flurry of sales during the three-day weekend before Christmas, McAllister said.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)