Shoppers make early-morning dash for deals - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Shoppers make early-morning dash for deals

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WARWICK, R.I. -

Black Friday is still the busiest shopping day of the year, at least in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine.

Bargain hunters in all other states got a jump start on door-buster deals, some as early as 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

"I think it's getting rushed too too much," Sandy D'Elia said Friday.

D'Elia spends every Black Friday shopping with her daughters. She doesn't want that tradition to change, but she worries it could if Rhode Island ever eliminated the blue laws that make it illegal for most retailers to open on Thanksgiving.

"I don't believe it should be. Thanksgiving should be family time," D'Elia said.

Chris Moreira agreed.

"I don't want Rhode Island's law to change. I heard in Connecticut it started at 6 a.m., but I'm from Rhode Island. I'm not going shopping there," he said.

But that's exactly what retailers are worried about. There's concern in the states with blue laws that consumers are crossing state lines for Thanksgiving deals.

Jen Campbell, a manager at J.C. Penney, said despite complaints about early openings, she said she thinks customers will keep showing up no matter what time stores open.

"They're going to come out regardless, but we understand family and we certainly appreciate getting time with our family," Campbell said.

Another challenge retailers face this year is a shorter shopping season. This year holiday shopping is shorter by six days because of how Thanksgiving fell on the calendar.

Bob Caserta of Toys R Us said online sales should balance out the shorter season.

"A lot more online shopping this year and a lot of that is happening now, and it's taking away from the traffic in the store," Caserta said.

While the shopping landscape evolves, retailers still expect to finish Black Friday in the black.

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