The bar has been raised this year for Black Friday shoppers. Stores are opening earlier than ever, and retailers are rolling out the red carpet.
You'll find plenty of shoppers with bags in hand at the Empire Mall
. Veterans Day weekend is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, and it's beginning with a bang. Retailers are already offering deep discounts.
"I assume they're all fighting for the customers, especially with economic times they have right now," shopper Jill Reimer said.
BLACK FRIDAY HOURS
Toys R Us: Can't say
Best Buy: 5 a.m. - 10 p.m.
KMart: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Target: 4 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Shopko: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Walmart: Not out yet
Kohl's: 3 a.m.
Bed Bath and Beyond: Flexible
Menards: 6 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Lewis: 6 a.m.
Jill Reimer and her daughter, Molly, are finding several things at Old Navy, one of three stores in the mall that's opening at 12:01 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. It's a first for the Sioux Falls store, and shoppers aren't surprised to see it happen.
"Actually not at all. I think stores would be open 24-7 if they were allowed to," Jill said.
"Will give you a head start on holiday shopping; don't have to wake up at 3 a.m. It'll be nice," Molly said.
Mall officials think shoppers will be up to the task. More and more people have been coming to the mall, and they're feeling better about the economy.
"Retailers are really excited for the first time in a while about the holiday season. Economic indicators are pointing up and they want to do everything they can to get shoppers in their stores," Empire Mall Marketing Manager Chrissy Spoo said.
A second batch of mall stores will open at 2 a.m., including one restaurant that's giving away free coffee. The mall itself will offer free hot chocolate to early shoppers, and even plans to open a VIP lounge. Officials expect the best Black Friday they've seen in some time.
"Whether that's opening earlier, offering some freebies and incentives, or compelling values, retailers are positioned to do that and shoppers will win this holiday season," Spoo said.
Mall stores are opening in waves with a few opening at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and 4 a.m.