Black Friday shopping lasts all night at in Anthem

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Some stores even opened on Thanksgiving Day to get a head start on the season. Enticing shoppers with deals this Black Friday is especially important for brick-and-mortar retailers given the continued switch to online shopping, which has forced chains such as Toys R Us, apparel retailers True Religion, The Limited, Rue 21 and off-price retailer Payless Shoe Source to file for bankruptcy this year.

Black Friday is the unofficial beginning of the biggest shopping weekend of the year in the USA, according to the National Retail Federation.

Black Friday is the day after the American Holiday Thanksgiving, which falls on the last Thursday of November.

When do Black Friday deals start?

Crowds at stores in many locations around the country were reported to be strong, according to analysts and retail consultants monitoring shopper traffic across the US.

Sales now last about a week, rather than being a single-day event, she said, and the internet has given consumers the ability to find great deals year round.

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$1.52bn was spent online in the U.S. during Thanksgiving (up to 5pm ET), according to figures from Adobe - a growth of 16.8 per cent year-on-year. That's an increase of 18.4 percent compared with a year ago.

As of 5 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving day, the company said Americans already spent almost 17 per cent more than they did past year, shelling out $1.52 billion online.

Anticipating enormous profit, retailers began to open their stores as early as 6 a.m. and in 2011 Black Friday reached another level when stores were open at midnight.

Certain industries in particular are experiencing a Black Friday renaissance online, said Giesler, highlighting that technology firms are known to offer "legendary" sales.

Other retailers that enjoyed solid gains included Macy's, up 2.1 per cent; Gap, up 1.6 per cent; Best Buy, up 0.9 per cent; and Kohl's, up 1.0 per cent. Wal-Mart Stores, the world's biggest retailer, advanced 0.2 per cent.