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Retailers, customers gear up for eventful holiday season with more people expected to shop in-store

"Last year people shopped online because they were scared. Today, now people are excited to get to the stores," said Lisa Miller, a market research consultant.

DALLAS — Retailers are going into this holiday season with some renewed optimism following a down pandemic year in 2020.

The National Retail Federation predicts a record-breaking season with two million more shoppers than last year. Experts, however, say 2021 will still trail pre-pandemic levels.

Big-box stores like Best Buy and Walmart elected to stay closed on Thanksgiving and expect early and long Fridays to kick off the holiday season.

"Last year people shopped online because they were scared. Today, now people are excited to get to the stores," said Lisa Miller of Lisa Miller & Associates, a market research consultant.

There were already long lines on Thursday at GameStop stores through out North Texas.

"I had to go to the crib and get some blankets and stuff, I've been here since 6:30 a.m.," said one customer waiting in line at the GameStop in Dallas.

At one GameStop location in Dallas there were more than 20 people waiting at the front door with hopes of purchasing either the newest Xbox Series S or PlayStation 5 consoles.

"I waited 20 hours for this bad-boy... twenty hours man!" said one jubilant customer walking out with a brand new console. "I brought him breakfast and hot chocolate," said that customer's mother walking in tow.

With retailers already dealing with worker and product shortages, get used to limited supplies this season. 

The dozens who showed up at the Dallas GameStop were the hardcore fans who were willing to brave the cold, while also missing out on the Cowboys game on Thursday night.

"I'm focused on the console, I'm focused on the console. I ain't worried about the game right now," said another customer.

Nothing says festive like the shopping fever that runs before Black Friday and beyond.