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By 6 a.m., she and her two teenage daughters made it to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

"There's stuff they've seen", Moore said about shopping for her daughters since previous year.

Most of these initiatives come at a cost, though retailers see them as long-term investments as they seek to build their online link to customers.

"TVs, TVs. That's all I came for", Lorri Walton said. "If it were up to me, I would be in my pyjamas and on my computer at home". Stores like Macy's, Walmart, Target and more were open Thursday evening in what they hope will be a new holiday tradition as they try to fight off competition from online juggernaut Amazon.

Many malls were opening late Thursday or in the predawn hours of Friday.

Retail experts say you don't have to do it all at once. Known as "Black Friday", it takes its name from the day retailers were so overwhelmed with sales their budget lines were "in the black". "When we get up there", she said pointing to the beginning of the line.

And the weak loonie is playing a part, too. Stores are trying to better cater to savvier shoppers, who are splitting their spending back and for.

May said the family even wears matching shirts that read, "Team Black Friday" and have a way to find one another when they get separated.

"We got up at 4 a.m., left our house at 4:30, went to the Red Arrow Diner in Londonderry because it's open 24 hours", she said.

"You actually know what you're getting", said Mr. Ansbro, 33, a construction worker. Mobile transactions led the way with $1.2 billion in sales, up 33 percent over the prior year.

Binni Patel, director of marketing and business development at South Shore Plaza, points out the mall has many special events scheduled for the holiday season.

"It was a really good start".

"I've been doing this for 40 years, and I've never seen a Friday morning be this quiet", said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group.

Black Friday's top-selling electronics were Apple iPads, Samsung 4K TVs, the Apple MacBook Air, LG TVs, and Microsoft Xbox.

This year, Cyber Monday, the year's biggest online shopping holiday, is set to be larger than ever. Of those shoppers, about 41 million - 46 percent - said they shopped online on Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Retail Federation.

The holiday shopping season, which runs through Christmas on December 25, can account for as much as 40 percent of retailers' annual sales.

"A lot of Canadians wait to make their purchases, knowing that Cyber Week deals and promotions will save them money".

According to data from Adobe, Black Friday brought in almost half a billion dollars by 8:30am EST on pace to reach $3 billion by the end of the day-a growth of more than 11% over past year. That excludes auto sales, gas and restaurant receipts.

With the lure of steep discounts and the possibility of real deals, many gave up sleep and headed to the Queens Center Mall for Black Friday shopping. "I haven't even eaten yet", the duo said.

"Most of the time Black Friday deals start the day of: Thanksgiving", said Ashley Shelton of Columbia, Missouri, who was as Kohl's with her boyfriend after dinner with family and then going to Walmart for a Roku and security cameras. Look at Target, where pre-Black Friday e-sales topped last year's Cyber Monday sales. While specific prices are not listed for individual models, Walmart has the best price for the DJI Phantom 3 Standard Drone at $369.99 on Black Friday, so we imagine they will keep up the great prices for Cyber Monday.