DC area shoppers hit the stores early for Black Friday deals

Stores opened their doors Friday for what is still one of the busiest days of the year, even as the start of the holiday season edges ever earlier.

FOX 5's Annie Yu visited the Clarksburg Premium Outlets in Montgomery County for the shopping center's first Black Friday experience. Early crowds of shoppers were lined up as the stores in the outlet mall opened early.

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Most shoppers Annie spoke with said that the lines were not too long and that the crowds were bearable. One shopper told her that they think Black Friday has lost its shine due to the availability of the same products - at the same price - online. Aerial images from above Arundel Mills Mall showed packed parking lots early in the morning.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, used to launch the holiday season, but the competition to grab customers first is keen. Stores like Macy's, Walmart, Target and more were open Thursday evening in what they hope will be a new holiday tradition.

Looking ahead, 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.