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Black Friday crowds smaller after Thanksgiving hours

MADISON, Wis. - VIDEO Black Friday crowds smaller after Thanksgiving hours

Black Friday morning arrived quietly in parts of Madison compared to previous years.

By 5 a.m. the Best Buy in West Towne showed no lines, no pushing or shoving, just people casually shopping.

An hour later Derek Rose scored a deal on a big screen television. Rose said he only came out to shop because he heard the store still had electronics on sale.

The lack of morning chaos could be attributed to stores opening earlier than ever this year. Best Buy opened at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving night, Toys R Us opened at 5 p.m. 
Both had long lines of people tolerating the cold Thursday night, waiting to snag a deal.

Retail experts expect the Thanksgiving store hours trend to continue. Jerry O'Brien with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Retailing Excellence said stores will offer the chance to shop as long as people keep taking advantage of it.

However, O'Brien said Black Friday will keep its significance. "I think that we're still going to see those big crowds on Friday. It may be slightly diminished but we'll have to add them to the Thanksgiving crowds to get the whole picture, but it's still for a lot of people this is entertainment," said O'Brien in an interview Tuesday.

The Better Business Bureau expected Black Friday sales to hit $13 billion this year. Blain's Farm and Fleet kept its sales to Black Friday giving employees Thanksgiving off, but acknowledging the chance to miss out on consumer spending.

"I think in the long run the value is allowing associates to have time with their family and friends and have a good Thanksgiving dinner," said Dennis Dischler, store manager at the Verona location.

For the first time Valeria Andrade and several of her friends took advantage of Thanksgiving store hours and began their shopping at 10 Thursday night. Andrade said they started at an outlet mall and found it hard to not spend any money with all the sales.

They pushed through into Friday morning.

The group, visiting from Brazil, said their home country had started a similar trend but the United States has better deals.

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