Charge! Black Friday shoppers hit the stores

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By Belo Content KGW By Belo Content KGW
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX  -- Ready, set, shop! Thousands of shoppers hit the stores early Friday morning, braving the crowds to scoop up some cheap Black Friday deals.

The holiday shopping season actually kicked off early this year, as lots of retailers began offering deals on Thanksgiving Day. Door-buster sales that had traditionally been reserved for the day after the holiday were offered this year on Thursday evening, or even earlier.  Many people complained about the early start and the mad rush for deals, yet they went out shopping anyway.

Overall, the National Retail Federation expects retail sales to be up four percent to $602 billion during the last two months of the year. That's higher than last year's 3.5 percent growth, but below the six percent pace seen before the recession.

Sales numbers won't be available until Saturday, and that's when we'll find out what retailers gained by extending Black Friday so far into Thanksgiving itself. 

Analysts say many retailers likely did some extra discounting this year to get people into stores.