CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Santa turned into the Thanksgiving turkey's biggest rival this year, with stores opening earlier than ever to accommodate an estimated 152 million Black Friday shoppers this weekend.
This year Santa practically nudged the turkey off the table, with Toys r Us, Walmart, and Kmart among those with shopping hours on Thanksgiving day. Target, Macys and Best Buy opted for Friday midnight openings.
Industry insiders say earlier-than-ever sales are actually retailers' response to consumer demand.
Meanwhile, in Cape Girardeau shoppers got in line as early as 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night at some stores.
"It's all about the deals on electronics," one store manager told us. "They want the big flat screens, ipads, stuff like that. That's what they're getting in line for."
Our crew met several veteran and first-time shoppers out this morning.
"We do it for the tradition," said Marsha Johnson. "I enjoy spending time with my sister."
"I got out at six," said LeeAnn Whitworth of Scott City. "I've never done this before and I'm not planning to do it next year."
"We wanted to go to Best Buy for the TV's, but we saw the line all the way around Logan's and decided 'no way!,'" said Misty Cooper. "We went to the mall instead!"
Black Friday itself should be very busy, but the challenge for retailers will be, how to keep the momentum going over the weekend and then through the holiday season.