Millions of shoppers headed to Wal-Mart, Target

Millions of shoppers around the U.S. didn’t let a stomach full of turkey stop them from seeking out the best Black Friday deals.

Although fewer than 20 percent of consumers told the National Retail Federation that they planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day, crowds flocked to Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us locations around the U.S. to snatch up doorbuster deals, some of which started at 5 p.m.

Consumers also took advantage of retailers’ online sales, with online sales growing 27 percent between midnight and 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, according to Adobe. The analytics firm added that it expected to see the strongest online activity of the day between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. It will announce those figures later Friday morning.

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“We had people lining up outside of our stores as early as 2 or 3 in the afternoon,” Toys R Us U.S. President Hank Mullany told CNBC. The toy store opened the majority of its locations at 5 p.m.

Wal-Mart, which kicked off its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m., said more than 22 million people visited its stores on Thanksgiving Day, which was comparable to the figure it announced in 2013. The world’s largest retailer added that Thursday was also its second-highest online sales day ever, which was topped only by Cyber Monday last year.

At Target, the number of online orders and sales increased more than 40 percent compared to the prior year, setting a record as its biggest online sales day ever. The retailer said hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people were waiting in line before its 6 p.m. openings.

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Wal-Mart said that tablets, TVs, sheets, children’s apparel, and video gaming were its top five categories of the night. Walt Disney’s“Frozen” Snow Glow Elsa dolls were one of the top toys.

Electronics and housewares were the best-selling categories at Target, including high demand for the Element 40-inch TV, Xbox One, and the Keurig K40 Brewer.

According to The Associated Press, dozens of protesters visited Wal-Mart, Target and other stores in Missouri to stir up attention over the Michael Brown verdict, which was handed down earlier this week.

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