LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Some waited in line for hours. Others ventured out at midnight or before sunrise. Black Friday shoppers are out in full force.
It was a different kind of Midnight Madness, as thousands of people lined up Thursday night to take advantage of Black Friday deals at Fayette Mall in Lexington.
Mall officials say more than 1,000 people were inside Sears well before the mall opened at midnight. Because of the large crowds, officials decided to open up access to the mall about 45 minutes early.
The stores inside the mall remained closed until midnight. Some of the stores had several hundred people lined up, waiting for the clock to strike.
After seeing the large crowds early Friday morning, mall officials said they expect to surpass their total number of shoppers from last year's Black Friday event.
Stocks opened higher on Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
Retail is a key driver of the nation's economy. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because it begins the period in which many retailers turn profitable for the year.