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Thanksgiving sales lure Black Friday shoppers early

Corinth resident Chrissy Mallouf and her daughter got in line at Denton's Target store at 4 p.m. Thursday after their Thanksgiving Day dinner. 

A longtime Black Friday shopper, Mallouf said the deals give her a head start on holiday shopping and help her check items off her children's wish lists for less.

"I was probably about the 40th person in line at Target," she said. "I love it because I will sit there and make friends. Everyone around me, I end up getting to know because we're sitting together for a few hours."

By the time the store opened its doors for holiday shopping at 6 p.m., an estimated 350 people were circled around the building, said Daniel Williamson, a store team leader. 

Mallouf started at Target because she heard the store would have the new iPhoneX, plus a promotion to get a free iPhone 8+ and $250 gift card if buyers add another line to the plan. This way, she can upgrade while gifting her son his first, albeit hand-me-down, cellphone. Plus, they had a good deal on Beats by Dre headphones. While it took a few hours to get the phones and the new line up and running, it was worth it, she said.

Foot traffic stayed steady throughout the night until the store closed at midnight, Williamson said. Offers for a 28-piece set of food keepers and Roombas, the robotic and automated floor cleaners, sold out fast — as did the $10 teddy bears, he said. 

"The teddy bears have been a really big deal," he said. "We didn't have teddy bears until about three years ago, and every year, it's been a hit." 

By 6 a.m., there was another line at the door, but much smaller — signifying the big shift in shopping from Thursday to Friday. 

This happened at several shops at Golden Triangle Mall as well, said Matt Ludemann, the mall manager. JC Penney opened at 2 p.m. Thursday with a line, and when Ludemann went to open mall doors at 6 p.m., there was also a line outside. People got in line at their favorite stores, like Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret, for door-buster specials, he said. 

"The night was really busy. I would say the crowds peaked around 9 to 10 p.m.," Ludemann said. "The feedback from our anchor stores was all positive, and their sales were up from last year."

Because of the specials, the pace of Friday morning shoppers started out slower than previous years and gradually gained steam throughout the day, he said. 

For Mallouf though, a real estate agent and Black Friday fiend, she was back out at 6 a.m., after getting home around midnight from her Thanksgiving Day shopping. 

Her first stop Friday was Home Depot, for her husband's wish list and to stock up on Ring Video Doorbells. The digital doorbells, which have motion sensors and video cameras, send footage to a home owner's smartphone. They are great presents for her clients, and were on sale for $100 instead of $179.

"For me, it's a sense of security to give to my clients," she said. "Especially for clients with new-construction homes, you get a lot of door knockers."

Her shopping isn't over, though. Retailers are preparing for the surge from other shoppers like Mallouf, and those who avoided the stores this weekend. Extended hours start at Target on Sunday, and holiday hours have begun at the mall. 

"The 10 days before Christmas are generally the busiest, and the 10 days after Christmas are very important, too," Ludemann said. "We're looking forward to a busy and productive holiday season this year."

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-5889.