Holiday shopping this year is a marathon, not a sprint. More than a dozen major retailers opened on Thanksgiving Day and planned to stay open through Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season.
Lines were long Thursday night at Nebraska Crossing Outlets, the new mall near Gretna that opened at 10 p.m.
This year, the season is transforming right before shoppers' eyes. For nearly a decade, Black Friday had been the official start to the busy buying binge between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But in the past few years, retailers have pushed opening times into Thanksgiving night. Some like Macy's and J.C. Penney opened on Thanksgiving for the first time this year. Others opened earlier on Thanksgiving than last year and many pushed up the discounting that used to be reserved for Black Friday.
Stealing thunder from Black Friday appears to be a growing trend. Sales on turkey day were $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the previous year as more stores opened on the holiday, according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak. But sales dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on Black Friday, though it still was the biggest shopping day last year.