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Consumers heading to stores earlier and earlier to take advantage of sales

Thanksgiving is becoming the new Black Friday as more and more stores offered “doorbuster deals” as early as 6 a.m. on Thursday.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Thanksgiving is becoming the new Black Friday as more and more stores offered “doorbuster deals” as early as 6 a.m. on Thursday.

Kmart in DeWitt was among the stores welcoming customers early Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, the department store had already sold out of many of its first round of discounted electronics.

Michael Adelberg had football on his mind on Thanksgiving Day, but his television was broken.

“A TV…mine just blew out. I lost all sound on it and I need a TV for football so I’m looking for a deal,” he said.

When he arrived, however, Adelberg was confronted by a host of other shoppers looking for bargains.

“There were tons of people outside,” he said. “They were sitting on chairs with blankets and so on. I didn’t get the TV I wanted, but that’s alright,” he said.

Although he couldn’t buy his television of choice during his first trip, Adelberg was confident that he could take advantage of more doorbusters. Kmart scheduled another such sale at 8 p.m., and then another one at 5 a.m. on Friday.

Store manager Scott Henry said, though it's exhausting, he had no problem staffing the store for the shifts. A financial inventive had many workers volunteering to work the holiday.

“I will be here every shift. I was here at 4 a.m., I'll be here tonight, and tomorrow morning as well,” he said.

Retail experts say these “tiered openings” are becoming more and more common in large stores.

“There is still that urgency or being in a line at a specific time in order to get a specific product,” said Syracuse University Assistant Professor of Retail and Marketing Amanda Nicholson. “I think that was always the carrot that drove people out there.”

Although stores are open early, shoppers won’t be able to arrive early and hold onto items by putting them in their cart. Stores like Kmart are keeping sale items hidden until they reopen with the special discounts.

Stores are encouraging consumers to shop around while they wait for the sale’s next installment.

“The idea of this is not that the retailer is going to make any margin on those 150 items of that particular thing, but, we've got you there, right? So you've bought that, you're really happy... what else will you buy?” Nicholson said.

For those who want to avoid the Black Friday rush, there are new ways to pick up deals, including shopping online.

A local couponing expert, IAmThatLady.com founder Lauren Greutman, says that price-matching deals are among the most appealing options for consumers this year.

Stores like Walmart and Target will match Black Friday offers from other stores.

Greutman explains that one specific deal will help you avoid lines on Black Friday.

"So if you see a deal at Kmart that you really want at 5 in the morning, you could go today, put the item on layaway at Walmart, go back on Black Friday to Walmart and pay off your lay-away. Then you don't have to wait in line at Kmart,” she said.

Greutman suggests that consumers visit store websites in advance to look at floor maps if they are available in order to find the fastest routes to the best deals.

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