Black Friday madness: One person is shot dead outside a Macy's and another killed in a road rage incident at Walmart as stores open their doors ahead of $3.1 billion holiday splurge
Two people were shot dead and another was shot in three separate incidents in New Jersey, Nevada and Tennessee as Black Friday shopping kicked off.
One person died in a shooting outside of a Macy's department store in New Jersey on Friday and another was shot dead in an apparent road rage incident in a parking lot in Nevada on Thursday.
A third person was shot on Thursday at a mall in Tennessee as shoppers were taking part in early Black Friday sales.
The shooting outside the Macy's store occurred during the early hours on Friday at the Hamilton Mall in South Jersey as people lined up outside the mall, which was scheduled to open at 6am.
Several shell casings were found scattered around a silver SUV plastered in bullets in the parking lot of the mall, CBS Philly reported.
At this time, police are investigating the shooting and have not provided any additional information.
One shopper who was at the scene and has been coming out for Black Friday shopping for the last ten years said the shooting was sad, adding that Black Friday is 'getting scary now,' according to CBS Philly.
Meanwhile in Nevada on Thursday, a person was shot dead in a road rage incident in a Walmart parking lot in Reno, police said.
The shooting occurred around 6pm at the Walmart on East Second Street after there was apparently a dispute over a parking spot, according to KOLO.
Police and the FBI are investigating the Thanksgiving shooting as authorities search for a dark-colored Toyota Camry or Corolla that was driven by a driver described as a light-skinned black male.
In Tennessee, a man was suffered a gunshot wound after shots were fired at Wolfchase Galleria Mall in Memphis on Thursday around 11.15pm as shoppers were looking to score Black Friday deals at the mall.
The incident occurred in the parking lot outside the food court area after witnesses said a suspect fired several shots and then fled in a Ford Mustang, according to WREG.
Initial reports indicated no one was injured but a man showed up at Baptist Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound.
Three suspects are now in custody and officers have since collected shell casings from the scene.
Between 2006 and 2014, there have reportedly been seven deaths and 98 injuries during Black Friday shopping.
The shootings in New Jersey and Nevada occurred as shoppers eager to bag a bargain began their spending sprees as some stores across the U.S. kicked off their sales on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, most stores opened their doors around 6am for what is still one of the busiest days of the year, even as the start of the holiday season edges ever earlier.
Many stores are offering the same deals as in previous years, like $19.99 boots that remain a big attraction, cashmere sweaters, and sheets. For some shoppers, big discounts on electronics are the draw.
Stores like Macy's, Walmart, Target and more were open on Thursday evening in what they hope will be a new holiday tradition.
Several shoppers were out looking for bargains on TVs. Other items that drew crowds were cellphones and Hatchimals — eggs with a small, animated animal inside that hatch when given attention.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, vies with the Saturday before Christmas as the biggest sales day.
Shopper Stephanie Sullivan said she's searching for deals this holiday season on items for her son's upcoming wedding.
She said she planned to hit the Columbia Mall in Missouri on Friday after some shopping the night before.
Sullivan, her two adult sons and future daughter-in-law had driven from Kirksville, Missouri to Columbia for the shopping on Thanksgiving.
She and her entourage toted luggage and bulging bags as they headed to their truck, driven by one of her sons, waiting in front of Kohl's.
The 49-year-old said she saved $580 and spent a little under $200 on a four-piece luggage set, sweaters, pillows, boots and other things. She said she was buying for herself, but did purchase one sweater as a gift.
Sullivan said the family was trying to stay busy after the death of her husband in October 'and not focus on what we lost.'
Shopper Brian Motzko is making his usual trip to the Mall of America in Minnesota early Friday while visiting relatives for Thanksgiving.
The Cedar Falls, Iowa resident says he's doing all his Christmas shopping on Black Friday, buying gifts for himself, his wife and family 'until my card blows up.' He says, 'I've got two teenage girls. It's whatever.'
Motzko says he scored 70 percent off cookware at Williams-Sonoma and was on the hunt for a Bluetooth speaker. He said the nation's largest shopping center seemed less packed than in years past.
People were seen camped out in tents outside some Best Buy stores on the Thanksgiving holiday, including one in Utah where the temperatures plummeted to below-zero, while others raced through the doors at J.C Penney.
The department store kicked off its sales at 3pm on Thursday - hours before some people sat down around the table for Thanksgiving dinner.
But long before people got through the doors in stores, more than one-billion had already been spent online.
A staggering $1.15billion was spent online between midnight on Thursday and 5pm, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
It was an increase of more than 13 per cent on what was spent during the same time frame in 2015, and Adobe said it expected the Thanksgiving Day total to surge past $2billion in the next few hours.
The forecasters expect almost $900million of the total figure to come from purchases made on mobile devices.
'We saw one of our strongest days ever online,' Target CEO Brian Cornell said, before he added the chain saw double-digit increase in online activity.
The National Retailers Foundation says online spending over the three-day bonanza will reach an eye-watering $8.4billion.
The NRF's annual holiday shopping forecast expects $3.05billion on Black Friday and $3.36billion on Cyber Monday - which would mean it is the biggest shopping day of all time.
Other forecasters project overall holiday spending will rise by 3.6 per cent - which would be a bigger jump that the average seen over the past seven years.
If spending does increase by the predicted amount, 690,000 new seasonal jobs will be created, according to the NRF.
It comes after it was revealed retailers have braced for a massive holiday rush this year.
This weekend is crucial to set the tone for the holiday season.
Around 137 million people plan to or are considering doing their shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation.
That includes online and store shopping. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, vies with the Saturday before Christmas as the busiest shopping day of the year.
The NRF, the nation's largest retail group, expects holiday sales to rise 3.6 per cent for November and December, better than the 3 per cent growth seen for those months last year.
That excludes car sales, gas and restaurant receipts but includes online spending and other non-store sales such as catalog spending.
WHAT ARE THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS?
Want to save time shopping around by heading to the store with the best Black Friday deals?
Look no further, as DailyMail.com has identified some of the great savings available.
32-inch 720p LED TV - $70
32-inch 720p Smart TV - $125
Up to 60 per cent off toys from Disney, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Barbie
49-inch LED TV with built-in Chromecast - $200 (Reduced from $450)
Blu-ray movies - $7.99
Up to 60 per cent off video games
Sharp 55-inch 1080p LED Smart TV - $250 (Reduced from $500)
Dick's Sporting Goods
Selected Nike and Under Armour clothes and gear - Reduced by 25 percent
Selected cardio machines - Reduced by 50 percent
Selected hoodies and fleeces - Reduced by 50 percent
Christmas decorations - Reduced by 50 percent
Selected DVDs and movies - $1
Men's down coats - Reduced by 75 percent
Samsonite luggage - Reduced by 60 percent
Nine West handbags - Reduced by up to 70 percent
50-inch Hisense 4K UHD TV - $250
iPad Air 2 - $274 (Reduced from $400)
Powerbeats 2 Wireless Earphones - $90 (Reduced from $200)
Selected video games - $8
Samsung Chromebook 3 - $119
Selected DVD and Blu-ray movies - $2
Consumer confidence rose by 8.4 points from October to 85.2 in November - the biggest gain within a month since December 2011, according to the University of Michigan's final reading of consumer sentiment for November.
'The upsurge in favorable economic prospects is not surprising given Trump's populist policy views, and it was perhaps exaggerated by what most considered a surprising victory as well as by a widespread sense of relief that the election had finally ended,' Richard Curtin, University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers chief economist told Bloomberg.
With increased confidence in job security, wage growth and soaring markets, shoppers are planning to spend, spend, spend over the holidays.
They also estimate that holiday sales will grow 3.6 percent on last year - bringing a $630.05 billion boon to the economy.
HEN IS BLACK FRIDAY 2016? WHAT TIME DO SALES START AT STORES ACROSS THE COUNTRY?
Best Buy: Sales begin at 5pm, Thursday, November 24
Dick's Sporting Goods: Sales begin at 6pm, Thursday, November 24
Home Depot: Sales begin at 6am, Friday, November 25
J.C. Penney: Sales begin at 3pm, Thursday, November 24
Kmart: Sales begin at 7pm, Thursday, November 24
Macy's: Sales begin at 5pm, Thursday, November 24
Target: Sales begin at 6pm, Thursday, November 24
Toys R Us: Sales begin at 5pm, Thursday, November 24
Walmart: Sales begin at 6pm, Thursday, November 24
'You will see a bump in spending this year because this election was so close, so highly contested, and so dramatic no matter which candidate you supported,' Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with NPD Group, told Business Insider.
The predictions are in line with results of a recent survey by ForeSee revealed most Americans are planning to spend the same or more during the holiday season than in the run up to the election.
While it could be expected that Trump supporters would be driving the spending frenzy on a wave of optimism after their candidate won, the survey reveals that 20 per cent of Democrats plan to spend more in the coming weeks.
That is double the percentage of Republicans who plan to up their spending.
Cohen added: 'Half the country is going to be happy, so they are going to go out and spend, and half is going to be very distraught and disturbed - and one way to get out of that slump is to distract themselves by going to stores.'
With so much air time dedicated to the election over the past year, retailers will also get the chance to air their holiday advertising.
Meanwhile, shoppers who had been holding back over concerns about what the results could mean to the economy have been pleasantly surprised.
Big department stores, such as Macy's and Khol's are expecting a strong holiday spending period.
'Things that are distracting like the election, once there's an outcome, certainty is a good thing,' Kohl CEO, Kevin Mansell said. 'So from a positive perspective, having certainty on that is probably a good thing looking into the holiday.'
Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney Co. Chief Executive Officer said in an interview this month: 'We've had some, we believe, pent up demand - just based on the economics of our consumer.'