NEW YORK — Tens of thousands of bargain hunters continued swarming department stores on Black Friday, continuing a shopping frenzy that began Thursday evening.
Retailers like Target and the Gap started their holiday sales mere hours after Thanksgiving dinner, marking the first year major companies broke tradition and introduced deep holiday discounts hours before the traditional start of the biggest shopping day of the year.
The early start was ostensibly to help shoppers find "the items they want," as one Walmart executive said in a press release that announced the store's own early start to Black Friday. Also, retailers want to head off the mayhem that made headlines in previous years as shoppers stampeded and fought for the hottest holiday items.
Extra officers were posted to stores around the city, according to the NYPD, but no Black Friday-related violence had been reported as of Friday morning.
Instead, at Macy's in Midtown, shoppers smiled as they thronged the store's clothing aisles about 8 a.m.
"I thought it was going to be a lot worse," said Espo Ariganello, 40, a tourist from Toronto. "I like how hectic it is. It charges you. It sparks a frenzy."
Edward Jones, 50, a special-needs teacher in the city, was part of a crowd shopping for men's dress shirts at the store.
"I don't mind the lines," he said. "It's a headache and there's a crowd, but it's worth it to me. I just see it as an opportunity."