DALLAS - Black Friday sales are still going strong across North Texas as retailers look to lure shoppers' every available holiday dollar as the economy continues to chug along.
The mad dash to take advantage of well-advertised door buster deals actually began Thursday. That is when many big box stores decided to open up on Thanksgiving night, giving Black Friday an earlier start than ever.
One of those stores, Toys"R"Us, opened at 9 p.m. Thursday to crowds of people storming in and looking to load up on gifts for the little ones.
Meanwhile, stores like Target opened their doors at midnight, which is four hours earlier than last year.
At the Target at Haskell and Central Expressway in Dallas, thousands of shoppers stood wrapped around the building for several hours, wanting to get first dibs on deeply discounted TV's, Amazon Kindles and hand-held electronics.
For crowd control purposes, Target security only allowed a handful of people at a time through the doors. And, to make sure those first in line got first dibs, store employees issued tickets to shoppers still in line.
By five or six Friday morning, many stores were quiet as could be.
Shopper Denise Chaney told News 8, she spent three hours roaming the aisles, loving the extra elbow room and stocking up on even more gifts without the hassle of huge crowds. The North Texas mom said she spent $150 on six gifts, including a Blu Ray player, music videos, a toy truck, a bathrobe, a pillow and a camera. Chaney says she saved at least $75 on black Friday deals.
Shopper Irene Padilla couldn't believe she didn't have to stand in line as she paid for her purchases at 7 a.m. at Target. Padilla said this is the first year she didn't line up for Black Friday doorbuster deals, but found the stores' other deeply discounted items still well-stocked.
The National Retail Federation is expecting overall sales will be up about 2.8 percent over last year.
It also predicts about 152-million shoppers nationwide will take advantage of slashed prices and heavy discounts over this three-day holiday weekend.