LUTZ, Fla. (WTSP) – Hundreds of shoppers lined up and opened their wallets during special Thanksgiving hours that went overnight and into early Black Friday morning at Tampa Premium Outlets in Lutz.
The extended hours melded “Grey Thursday” and Black Friday into one seamless shopping experience that started at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening and runs through 10 p.m. Friday night.
In recent years, online sales and extended deals have led to a decrease in the traditional Black Friday rush, and retailers nationwide have used extended hours and Thanksgiving Day shopping as a way to lure shoppers back into their doors.
However, according to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday remains one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and the most popular shopping day of this holiday weekend. Retail experts say more than 137 million Americans will do some form of shopping before the weekend is over.
At Tampa Premium Outlets, some shoppers stayed overnight to score good deals, with many other trickling in throughout the night and staying until the morning.
“I just love the rush and the adrenaline of getting up in the morning and going to shop in the morning,” says Kaycie Smith, who spends every Black Friday in the stores.
Tampa Premium Outlet spokeswoman Sarah Rasheid said the steady flow of shoppers has been impressive, and that the good deals won’t be limited to those who came out overnight. She said most retailers will offer the same discounts at least throughout Friday and some throughout the weekend.