Black Friday crowds thin after U.S. stores open on Thanksgiving

Black Friday crowds thin after U.S. stores open on Thanksgiving
Women sit outside after shopping at Macy's Herald Square store during the early opening of the Black Friday sales in Manhattan. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Crowds were thin at U.S. stores and shopping malls in the early hours of Friday, initial spot checks showed, as shoppers responded to early Black Friday discounts with a mix of enthusiasm and caution.

Many shoppers headed out to stores on Thanksgiving evening, a month before Christmas, reflecting the new normal in U.S. holiday shopping, which was traditionally kicked off the next day, Black Friday.

In an effort to attract the most eager holiday shoppers and fend off competition from Amazon.com Inc , U.S. retailers have increasingly extended their holiday deals by opening stores on the evening of Thanksgiving.

“It’s still early, and from what we are seeing so far the crowds are good but not great,” Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, said late on Thursday. The retail consultancy had 18 members studying customer traffic in different parts of the country.

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