Retailers worried about sales, start discounts early

TYSONS CORNER, Va. (WJLA) - Analysts are predicting a small increase in holiday spending, but retailers are worried. They’ve started big discounts very early – which means if you don’t mind the crowds, there are deals to be had.

And so it starts -- the happening-even-earlier holiday shopping has begun.

There was a long line outside of Best Buy in D.C. Thursday night, as shoppers braved frigid temperatures for hot deals. And at Westfield Montgomery Mall early Friday morning, millions other did as well.

"I love shopping, shopping anytime, it doesn't matter -- could be one in the afternoon, one in the morning, I love shopping," says Randy Buchner of Gaithersburg.

The National Retail Federation predicts that 140 million people will hit stores or shop online this Thanksgiving weekend – a number that’s down slightly from last year.

For retailers, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is critical to their bottom line, and with Thanksgiving falling alter this year, there are fewer days to shop.

"Our customers said we liked opening at midnight, we want to get a head start, so we responded," said Macy's store manager, Brian Firehammer.

At Tysons, Briana Coleman appeared to have shopped and then dropped – literally. She and her sister Britni started at 6:30 a.m. in Gainesville, and they’ve got just about everyone taken care of as of now.

"I'm ready to take a nap now," laughs Briana. "I want to go home."

The stores tell us Tysons has seen a pretty heavy and steady flow of customers, starting Thursday night around the real bargain hunters. Closer to midnight came the younger “millennial” shoppers, and starting early Friday morning, the traditional Black Friday shoppers started piling in.